Oliver and Osoyoos warming centres organized by the Seventh Day Adventists
Thomas is the pastor of Park Drive Church
(Other churches have been criticized on social media for not doing enough)
If anyone would like to discuss the matter I’d happily take a call. Our church in Oliver helps the homeless and advocates for their needs often. Just this week we assisted someone who was sleeping in their car find a place to stay. Unfortunately the pink elephant being avoided in this discussion is our complete disregard for mental illness. Opening up your building to a handful or less because of Covid restrictions is no simple task. And many homeless people choose to live outside for various reasons. And I’m sure everyone is aware of what becomes of these tent cities that prop up on our lawns without the necessary support and resources.
Thinking that churches are here to pick up what everyone else wants to ignore is unreasonable and ignorant for a society that prides itself in defending human rights and living unselfish lives of compassion. Let’s be real here, this is both a regional and a community crisis. Most individuals who are homeless require specific solutions and social work. The problem is much more than a roof over their heads. It might help to stop and acknowledge these people because they are visible if you want to meet them. I think if anyone’s really concerned the best response is to sign up and volunteer to supervise those nights shifts at the Adventist church cause after a couple of days the few and the faithful are going to be worn out. Homeless people don’t walk out the front door in the morning to go freeze outside all day until you let them back in at night. They need food, showers, clothing, counseling, and a whole range of services including health care.
Hang our heads in shame? Yeah maybe only because we wait ever year to push this problem off on someone else when it becomes too large for us to ignore.