I can vouch for some of Tom’s Fletcher’s observations in his column of Feb. 3 (‘Urban drug ghettos aren’t working’).
About a decade ago, for my own education, I interviewed 10 homeless people. Not statistically significant, but revealing nonetheless. Eight of them were recent arrivals who were already homeless before they got here. Two came on the recommendation of friends. One of the 10 was even featured in a Times-Colonist profile. He was fortunate to be offered a job as a result, but I’m sure one of our local homeless might have appreciated the offer first.
Over the years numerous articles have featured unwitting quotes from homeless people who came here from elsewhere because they heard Victoria was a good place to be homeless. Many years ago another TC profile was about a girl from the western communities who took to living on the streets for the fun of it. Victoria’s own professional homeless guy arrived here from Red Deer, Alta. for the explicit purpose of simply living on the street. Since that time he has been ‘re-invented’ by the media and certain advocates as a homeless activist, but it’s a sham.
There are people who genuinely need to be identified and housed. Their case is not being helped by people who are homeless by choice, or because they are looking for adventure or an alternative lifestyle.