Moncton, the city where Dovico calls home is in the midst of a homelessness crisis. With rising health care and housing costs, and social isolation, the numbers of those living outside in tents or inside at shelters is rising. How can our company grow, if the security of our community is clearly at risk?
Unlike many of our other blog posts, this one doesn’t have anything to do with what we sell. It isn’t a blog post about timesheets, company culture or productivity at work. This one is about kindness, empathy and community. Timesheets, company culture and productivity at work doesn’t mean a thing if we don’t have love and understanding of our fellow citizen. It also doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t feel secure.
Security in a Tent City
On my way to work every morning, I drive by a treed-in vacant property known as “Tent City.” This plot of land, not far from our downtown, is where dozens of our cities homeless have set up tents and makeshift tarp shelters for homes.
Instead of merely chasing them away, our city has adopted this temporary subdivision until a more permanent solution can be found. The city has hired security, brought in portable washrooms and has created a few rules for safety and sanitary reasons.
Each day as I pass by Tent City, I try to understand how someone can become homeless. And every time, I fail. Selfish thoughts of thinking that it’s a choice, or that they are perhaps they are lazy come to mind. Our city is not lacking jobs, we have an abundance, so why can’t these people find work? Why do they choose to live in a tent and not become better? Why are they so reliant on government assistance to get started?
My thoughts were 100% ignorant.
After hearing the news that the city has now decided to evict the last dozen or so citizens of Tent City, I decided to inform myself. Ignorance is bliss, they say, and I had found comfort from that bliss. Only now when it’s time for the citizens to move on, do I make my move to understand their story.
I am ashamed
Upon doing a little research, I found a documentary that Charles Burrell, founder of The Humanity Project with help from a local A/V group had created this summer about Moncton’s Tent City. In it, they interviewed the various citizens who call a tent their home. The people’s stories were authentic, heartfelt and moved me to change my opinion on just what homeless means.
Many, like myself, want to fixate on how they ended up there. Emotional trauma, addictions, and mental health are all things that can be treated, so why can’t they go get help? We want to blame governments for letting these tired souls down. Hoping that finding money and throwing it at them will fix the growing problem. But the problem isn’t money. It’s you, me and our society.
How does one find security living in a makeshift campground, between an active railroad and main city street?
Living in Tent City give these people a sense of a trusting community that they can’t find by living in a shelter. They feel supported and accepted by those who share their space. There is no judgement cast on them. There is freedom to come and go as they choose and a spark of life knowing that someone else is looking out for them.
Someone has their back should they fall
Being homeless in a society surrounded by homes has to feel like the bottom of the social ladder. As social beings, we need a base in which to rise — a safe place in which to be vulnerable enough to grow. Without that very foundation of security, there is no way up but down.
Residents of Moncton’s Tent City, have found a seed of security in their temporary community. It takes time for a seed to grow, but now, that seed is being taken away. They are forced to start again, alone, or in shelters with strict freedom-sucking rules. The residents of Tent City’s sense of security will vanish once again. The cycle of rebuilding for them starts at rock bottom.
Rock bottom is a cold place to be when you’re alone
If you’ve ever experienced trauma in your life or experienced change that involved risk, you understand how crucial personal security is. It’s more than just physical safety, its sociological and psychological security. Knowing that if you take the chance to move forward, you will have a safe place to return to and people ready to support you and not judge you. Homeless people don’t have that luxury. Failure is not an option for those without a home.
If you cannot fail, then you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, then you cannot prosper.
Homelessness is not a problem
Viewing homelessness as just a money problem is ignorant. I was ignorant of our growing social problem in our city for many years. To fix this problem, we have to demonstrate kindness, generosity, understanding and compassion to our community. Feeling secure is more than just four walls with a door and a roof. Moncton’s Tent City is living proof of that.
We don’t have a homeless problem. We have a kindness problem. And while you may not be able to solve homelessness, you are able to be kind.
The Humanity Project, a local charity group, aims to help bring love, dignity and respect back to those who call our streets “home.” Dovico has long been a supporter of this initiative and has named them as one of our initial recipients of Dovico Cares.
All proceeds from our custom reporting go into our community. Either to our friends at The Humanity Project, Habitat for Humanity, the Moncton SPCA or even local youth sporting initiatives. We believe that a strong community with our involvement is a backbone to our company culture.
You can help us, help our community by making a donation.
If you would like to know more about Dovico Cares, please visit our website: https://www.dovico.com/dovicocares/
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