Campbell River Council Addresses Rumours—They Should Have Saved Their Breath

Don't be fooled, these folks are our neighbours

How we all got here doesn’t matter—the direction we head now does

Levels of homelessness are rising across BC. As they rise, so do rumours about how folks end up without a place to live.

The thing about rumours, though, is they are often not worth the time it takes to say them.

Did Ralph Klein offer Albertans on welfare one-way bus tickets to the west coast? He sure did, the scumbag. That could be where the rumour that “loads of homeless people are being bused into town” was born.

Hopefully you’re not wasting time repeating it.

It might seem like an easy explanation for why more people live on the streets in town. But it’s a distraction from the real problems that led us here.

Plus, most people living without a house in Campbell River have been our neighbours for years.

Regardless, City Council heard these rumours and tried to put them to rest.

They brought in Stefanie Henderickson, a coordinator from the Campbell River District Coalition to End Homelessness, to do the honours.

“We hear on a regular basis…that people are specifically being bused into Campbell River, from other communities to access our services,” said Councillor Claire Moglove. She asked Hendrickson to weigh in on the topic.

“This is one of those rumours that circulates and gets blown out of proportion,” Hendrickson told council. “I think people imagine these huge busloads of people coming in, getting dropped off. There’s simply no evidence that that is happening.”

Hendrickson says the vast majority of Campbell River’s homeless folks have “lived in Campbell River anywhere between one year and their entire lives.”

Over half have lived here for more than ten years. They’re often born and raised here.

Hendrickson said others are mostly people who moved for partners or work. But their circumstances changed or they lost their job and ended up without a place to live.

All these facts, but the key takeaway is: the rumours are false. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re true.

Even if BC towns were playing catch with homeless citizens, we’d still need to know why so many people are ending up on the streets in the first place.

The issues forcing people to live without a roof over their heads come down to far bigger problems.

For example, our housing crisis, the toxic drug crisis, low disability payments…the list goes on.

These are such huge issues. It’s understandable that folks think it’s easier to focus on rumours instead.

But ultimately, where people moved from doesn’t matter.

We’re all living here now.

Working together to help each other and make life better for all our neighbours—that’s what matters.

Spreading rumours like this makes you no better than Ralph Klein. And who wants to be that guy?