Painful Truth: Fellow citizens in Langley need our support

The supportive housing plan is one piece in building people back up.

When I was very young, my family was broke.

Not poor, broke, and that’s an important distinction.

Shortly after moving the whole family out to a new home in Langley, my dad lost his job in the nasty recession of the early 1980s. For years, neither of my parents could find full time work.

We were okay. We had family. We had friends – some of whom found temporary work for my dad.

Money was very tight. Years later, my mom told me how they would drive out of their way to avoid going past a fun fair, so my brother and I wouldn’t ask to go, when there was no way they could afford the tickets.

But we had Christmas presents, and we didn’t lose the house. Both my parents eventually found work.

When I meet homeless people, I don’t see someone who has made some terrible, singular decision that caused them to wind up on the street.

I see people who suffered a run of bad times, like my family did, but didn’t have those supports that got us through it.

What if we hadn’t had family with the resources to lend us money – for years?

What if one of my parents had gotten sick, or injured, at the wrong time?

What if we hadn’t had a good neighbour willing to throw us some work when it was desperately needed?

Would we have lost our house? Wound up living in our car?

Life is not a series of good decisions that lead inevitably to good outcomes, or bad decisions that come to bad endings.

It’s a Jenga tower, stable until you start to take away the supports, one by one.

I was very gratified to see the Langley Township council vote unanimously in favour of supportive housing, to create 49 units for people currently living on the streets and in temporary shelters.

The homeless people I’ve met are often candid about the reasons for their situation. Addiction and mental illness often play a role, but so do injury and illness, job loss, and alienation from family. Those things can happen to anyone, and they are not moral failings deserving of punishment.

“Support” is the key word in supportive housing. It’s about building people up, providing stability for lives knocked badly askew.

We will need more such projects. More housing, more prevention to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place.

For now, many thanks to mayor and council for putting some pieces back to support and build up our fellow citizens.

Just Posted

Second park ban won’t solve homeless crisis in Langley City, councillor predicts

‘They don’t have anywhere else to go,’ says Coun. Rosemary Wallace

Big Chill a hot event in Langley

Flight Museum holds “ask the pilot panel” and demos flights for young pilots over the weekend

Actors all aboard!

Creative Compass and Langley Historical Society hold auditions for CN Station vignettes

Do or die for Langley Tier 1 Thunder

Game will decide which team advances to the semifinals, and which team is done for the summer

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. Ferries cancels two sailings Monday due to mechanical issues

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay run affected in order to repair Queen of New Westminster

Most Read