November 24, 2018
I was downtown the other day and came upon two of them …and there are more. I will focus on these two.
The downtown bus terminal, and the St. Catharines Library .
I have noticed this for the past few years that people are being driven to the outskirts to make them less visible.
Any time of year these two places are used for refuge from the elements . Any season is not a season I would consider to be ideal when you are homeless and trying to find a place to just sit and feel as if you belonged .
This particular day I witnessed a young man who was obviously being kept out of the library .
There was a security guard and an employee telling him why he was given a trespassing ticket .
I know most of the staff at the library …Always been courteous , never disrespectful to me . I have also seen how they have treated those who are obviously not welcome there.
A few months ago I did ask one of the security guards why they are positioned in the front and the door to the washroom left open .
I personally found it an invasion of my privacy , using the washroom.
She really had no answer.
The answer is that you are making a judgement of who can , or cannot use this facility .
That is discrimination in its finest dressed up as a security guard.
That day the young man was obviously upset and was using a few colorful words…and I stepped in and asked the employee and the security guard why he was kept out.
Their answers were supported by one another.
I waited until they left ..and asked the young man .
His name was Kevin…he wanted to do a resume …and apparently was at the wrong computer . Someone had reserved that one . He was told to leave , and as he was leaving to use another computer ..an employee and the security guard appeared and asked him to leave.
I am certain more happened ..and words were exchanged.
Frankly , if you challenged me , and I was having a bad day ..I would not be so polite.
The responsibility lies on the employee and security guard to understand this young man and come to a peaceful solution and not allow the situation to escalate. That would have been compassion. To see his side , without provoking him .
He is living on the streets. He is in crisis mode… and will defend himself…especially if you publicly humiliate him.
Apparently at Montebello Park city workers are now acting like security guards and asking people to leave and telling them that they are trespassing.
Public places…all of them !
Slowly those that are vulnerable are being pushed out. That is not solving the issue of homelessness …It is putting it in the junk drawer hoping no- one will open it .
A social worker needs to be in these places , doing street work.
This is what people need . A safe place , and safe person to speak to .
I was with a friend and he overheard the security guard saying ” that woman should not have stuck her nose in ”
Well, I will stick my nose in sir. You were judgmental and made that young man feel as if he had no place to go. The young man Kevin , asked for my name . The employee and security guard did not. Who had more courtesy and understanding?
In defence of the staff at the Library . I have gone to the library for so many years..and it was always a welcome place . I know most staff…and they know me. They are librarians, and not trained to deal with these situations.I believe placing a social worker at the library and other places around town …that they can help with that understanding .
Do not judge, discriminate or make assumptions.
Each person on the street has a story …
…true story .