What would it look like if our community came together to find collaborative solutions?

LETTERS

A group of community organizations is concerned about the one-sidedness of the May 11, 2022 article entitled “Livening, beautifying downtown Campbell River has to deal with elephant in the room,” by the Campbell River Mirror.

The discussion surrounding housing and homelessness is too often being framed in an adversarial, “us versus them” kind of way, and this is yet another example of that. It encourages divisiveness rather than cooperation.

No child thinks, “When I grow up, I want to be homeless.” Being unhoused is traumatic. Many of the situations that lead people to homelessness and substance use are based in trauma. These are people who are falling through the cracks of systems that are supposed to support them. These are people who don’t have housing at all, let alone housing that provides safety, security, and support. Let’s shift the narrative to shift the results. We all have enough negativity in our lives.

It is discouraging to see people regularly and publicly draw attention to “negative issues” and not the individuals who are affected. This language perpetuates and amplifies a certain narrative in the community. It encourages polarization, division, and fear. It discourages people from utilizing the downtown core and supporting downtown businesses.

What would it look like if our community came together to find collaborative solutions? What if we look at complex social issues with compassion and innovation? What if we discuss solutions together instead of pointing out the flaws and further stigmatizing people who are already struggling every day? What if we amplified the positive things about our downtown? Not to ignore the larger social challenges, but to encourage unity and relationshipbuilding.

Let’s talk about the challenges, but in a way that encourages cooperation toward solutions. Let’s celebrate the many wonderful things about our downtown so we move forward together and promote inclusion, art, events, culture, tourism, business, and investment.

Stefanie Hendrickson, CRDCEH Coordinator, on behalf of the Campbell River & District Coalition to End Homelessness

Sara Lopez Assu, CRAG Executive Director, on behalf of the Campbell River Art Gallery

Shawn Decaire, Kwesa Place Manager, on behalf of Kwesa Place

Campbell RiverHomelessness