Letters, Week of June 26

Compromise needed on homeless shelter

I have read with much interest all the letters over the last few years regarding The River City Vineyard homeless shelter.

I’d like to present my opinion (which is probably the other side of the coin)

1) Wondering why the homeless shelter on Confederation Street didn’t serve the needs of all the homeless in Sarnia? “Distance from downtown” has been mentioned.  Why does it need to be near downtown?

2) Many of the letters I read seem to be inferring a decided lack of tolerance/compassion from the neighbours.  I take issue with that inference. Didn’t Jesus say, “Let he who is blameless cast the first stone”?  I think the neighbours are, for the most part kind, giving people.  I don’t believe anyone wants the homeless sleeping on the street.

3) I shake my head in amazement when I realize that the City and the Church have spent more than $100,000 on a lawsuit.  That would have gone a long way to relocating the homeless shelter.

4) I believe that compromise is badly needed.  Can we, the good people of Sarnia-Lambton, make that happen? Can we all pitch in and help to make the needed decisions and volunteer to help make a compromise happen?

Before I read that the old hospital is being offered for sale, an idea had occurred to me.  I understand that maintaining the old hospital is taking huge amounts of Bluewater Health’s health care funds.  Would they consider donating the building (or part of it) to Pastor Esser for his homeless shelter?  The corner of Mitton and George streets is a “commercial” corner.  I believe it would be better suited for a homeless shelter than a long-time lovely residential area like Maria Street.

It also occurred to me that if the homeless shelter was moved to the site of the old hospital, the huge parking lot could be used as a garden, maintained by the shelter residents and/or volunteers, which would probably feed many of the homeless and needy in Sarnia-Lambton.

Just some food for thought.

 Janet MacKey

Sarnia

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Double double trouble

Sir: Am I the only person who thinks putting a Tim Hortons on the corner of Exmouth Street and Lambton Mall Road is just a really bad idea?

Sue LeClair

Bright’s Grove

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 How ‘The Lodge’ works

Sir: In light of recent articles regarding the closure of River City’s homeless shelter, which included information on how The Good Shepherd’s Lodge operates, I believe it is important to correct some of the misinformation that was provided to the paper.

‘The Lodge,’ operated by the Inn of the Good Shepherd, has 25 beds (male and female dorms) and two family rooms averaging 15 people a night in residence.

The Lodge accommodates any client in need, especially those ‘hard to serve’ including folks with addictions or mental illness, releasees from jail, and those with poor prospects for housing.

The Lodge certainly has the space available to help those who find themselves without a place to stay.

Homelessness is a complex and variable situation unique to the family or individual who faces it. The staff at The Lodge are trained in social work to be able to provide the most dignified and respectful support possible. There is no ‘maximum stay’ limit – the staff works with the client to find housing in a time frame appropriate to their situation.

The Lodge focuses on helping improve an individual’s situation and on safety – no violence, drug or alcohol use in the shelter. There is 24-hour supervision to ensure the safety of clients and to provide supports for housing search, addictions and life skills.

The Lodge is on a major bus route and bus tickets are provided to residents, so accessibility to anywhere in the city is a matter of minutes.  The Lodge has a medical room with a nurse available two days a week to provide medical care to clients, and a resource room clients can use for housing and job searches.

The Inn of the Good Shepherd, The Lodge and its staff pride themselves on living up to our mission of providing service with dignity to those in need of food and shelter!

 Myles Vanni                         

Executive Director, Inn of the Good Shepherd

Sarnia

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ribfest says thank you

The ribs have all been eaten, the 18 bands are finished playing on two stages, the carousel has come to a stop in the midway, the vendors have packed up, and the Kinsmen are ready for a rest.

A massive thank you to each and every one of you who made the 16th Annual Sarnia Kinsmen Ribfest such a success.

 Kerry M Belliveau

Sarnia Ribfest

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Looking for Diane Kennedy

Sir: Does anyone among your readership know Diane Kennedy, a former Sarnia residents who is now probably in her 60s?

I’m looking for the former Diane Kennedy, who was married to Dave Falls in the early 1970s.

I have her photo album and framed pictures and thought she might like to have them. If anyone knows her, please contact me at 519-474-7400 or johnnenemaddison@hotmail.com

Johnnene Maddison Falls

London