Letter: Of course Burnaby homeless go to the bathroom outside

WIth bathrooms closed to them, they have nowhere else to go.


Re: Closing Burnaby homeless centre means we get our neighbourhood back, NOW Letters

I am writing with concern over the concern expressed by a resident in a recent letter to the editor.

Let’s put some basic things in perspective: the average price of a one-bedroom rental in Burnaby was $1,200 a month as of October 2019, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

 The benchmark price to own a typical property in Burnaby South was about $1,000,000 as of May. Do you think it’s possible that these insane prices have something to do with the amount of young people the author notices at the warming centre?

We happen to be in the midst of a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting those without a home to quarantine in. With virtually all public restrooms closed from mid-March until late May, where did we expect the homeless to go to the bathroom if the shelter was closed during the day? Nowhere in this extended letter does the author suggest the revolutionary idea of keeping the warming centre open during the day.

Despite some colourful language and examples, the extent of the resident’s complaints seem to boil down to discomfort at the sight of abject poverty and suffering.

The author is right to feel uncomfortable about it, but there are no solutions considered here.

In fact, the author describes a scene of victory with the news that the centre closed. We’re at a better place than our neighbours to the south, but make no mistake, the homeless population will increase as a result of this pandemic. The only remaining question is how long it can remain out of sight, and out of mind.

Steve Rouse, Burnaby


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