Friday December 1, 2017
My last night is done! Today I reclaim my identity as a home owner with a family to return to! Last night was the coldest night of the three. Again, the same pattern persisted. I could stay warm moving but became very cold when trying to sleep, regardless of where I chose to sleep. The end of November is simply not the time to sleep outside. Moose Jaw’s climate does not lend itself to homelessness. Our weather for much of the year demands shelter. If it had been colder I would have been forced to seek shelter in a bank ATM vestibule, some heated parkade or other partially heated facility that I could access. Depending upon the number of others who were on the streets, these places of refuge might have to be shared always raising the possibility of altercation.
There are different reasons why someone might be on the streets in Moose Jaw. One reason is the man needing shelter is unaware of Riverside Mission. Other reasons include the man not willing or able to sleep in a room filled with strangers or the man is refused shelter because of menacing behaviour toward other clients or staff members. In extreme weather The Ministry of Social Services, the Moose Jaw City Police Service or Riverside Mission will act to ensure that the homeless person will not be left in a life-threatening situation. Such action will not always be ideal but will provide safety from the weather. It would be desirable for our community to have a facility that would simply provide supervised, shelter for people overnight. The difference between this shelter and Riverside Mission is that this shelter would house those intoxicated or those with social behaviours that bar them from Riverside Mission.
Before my first night out I was in discussion about creating an overnight kit that we can offer those who we cannot house. Those this kit would not keep someone safe in extreme weather, it might provide some comfort in more tolerable weather. Ideally this kit would provide a back pack containing a blanket, a water proof (or at lest resistant) sheet, a bagged lunch, an energy bar, hard candies, a tooth brush, a Tim’s card, those heat packs for gloves and boots, nail clippers and blister band aids.
I am very fortunate to have a warm roof over my head and people in my life who care for me. I cannot ignore those who haven’t. Jesus said regarding caring for others, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)