Letter: No cost to showing respect, decency to Salmon Arm’s homeless population

Letter: No cost to showing respect, decency to Salmon Arm’s homeless population

Writer asks you to imagine yourself in the shoes of someone living on the street

Just like any other city in B.C., Salmon Arm is no stranger to the homeless population.

Some say they’re a nuisance, while others prefer the term ‘strangers’ to refer to those less fortunate than the middle class. But for you who reads this, whoever you may be, my question is a simple one: what is the difference between those who are cold on the streets, and the person you smiled at once in the hallways? Or perhaps the one you held the door open for that one time? Maybe even the one who held the door open for you? Were they the same kind of stranger as I hear everyone complaining about? Would you treat them with the same respect, the same dignity, as one who perhaps couldn’t afford their three meals per day, let alone a haircut? If not, then why? Tell me, you, who spend most, if not all of your hours in the warm, welcoming comfort of a heated home. You who sleeps every night on a soft, cushioned bed. You who has no faults in your own mind, and yet is so quick to judge those who cannot help but be poor; those who you don’t even bother to know anything about.

Read more: Salmon Arm restaurant helps keep homeless people warm

Read more: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

Read more: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

Consider this: If you were the person on the corner of Ross Street, or the one in front of No-frills, or dare I say, one of the dozens that have occupied Alexander, how would you want the public to view you? With dignity? Respect, perhaps? Sympathy, kindness, generosity, sadness, empathy, compassion, care, even a little love to stir the pot?

Stop and think about it: There is no gain in casting out these people; they are human beings just like you and I. Don’t put them down, but instead choose to grow the community and show the homeless the respect they need. Whether they deserve it or not isn’t up for debate; it’s what they need that will ultimately contribute to a better Salmon Arm. Claiming that you have ‘nothing to give’ is a lie, because it will cost you nothing to give the homeless the most priceless present of all: the gift of respect and a little human decency.

Joel Hiemstra

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

A webinar on dealing with dementia will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021 (Submitted)
Webinar on dementia scheduled for March 10

Okanagan residents invited to event on legal issues surrounding dementia

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read