The Extreme Weather Emergency Shelters for homeless people in Sooke and Victoria discussed in the Sooke News Mirror on Oct. 31, page 6, should be open now, because the weather here is truly extreme from the onset of rains. In most of Canada dry autumns and winters enable people to stay warm relatively easily, but the dampness here is far worse than sub-zero temperatures. Up until the rains started I considered myself a Grey Nomad, one of those happy, retired people touring in camper vehicles, my home on wheels a sort of micro-mini van. But once the rains began I truly felt like a homeless person, which was far from a comfortable feeling, especially because I made the error in judgment of booking my winter flight to Maui Nov. 21 instead of Oct. 21. That judgment based on experience living in Metchosin 25 years ago for three winters when, it seems, we had a day or two of rain followed by a day or two of sunshine.
The weather here is not just hard on the homeless. I have lived across Canada in several provinces, and I have never seen a change so dramatic and sudden in the general population anywhere as I saw here when the rains began. That general population stopped smiling… depression was obvious. Now, consider how extreme the situation is for the homeless. I cannot imagine how they have a hope of staying dry and healthy.
This area is one of the wealthiest I have seen in Canada. For homeless shelters to be open only in ‘Extreme Weather’ is cause for the general population here to wonder how Christian their Christianity is, how Jewish their Jewishness, Islam the Islamists are, how humanitarian the humanists are, and how religious other members of religions are. We all need to do more.