Dear Andre and Staff (at St Margaret's 24 Hour Respite),
Just a short note to thank you and your staff at the Park Road 24 hour Respite for the dignity and respect you have afforded Paul J James over the past 12 months, at times, when I have desperately needed a place to sleep and/or to gain sustenance for basic survival.
As you know I am leaving for the UK early next week and will not be returning.
While I get internally upset at the inhumanity delivered to so many Canadian citizens exposed to the hopelessness of homelessness these feelings have been diffused a little by the experience of seeing those selfless persons so committed to the well being of others no matter how marginalized and oppressed such citizens may be. You and your staff must be congratulated for doing the very best you can with such atrociously inadequate resources.
To offset what is a national homelessness crisis in Canada, in the future, there should be as many facilitates - like yours - to accommodate all Canadian homeless persons. When the politicians then calculate the costs of this expenditure it should motivate them to take more appropriate progressive steps in educating and socializing Canadian citizens from birth to basic maturity in order to prevent such circumstances from happening in the first place.
That however, will require a paradigm attitude shift from the establishment class whose conditioned entitlements inoculate them from understanding the true realities of societal inequality and the selfishness and greed from which it ALL stems from. Would any Canadian politician, for example, recognize that the cruelest aspect of living as a homeless, marginalized person, is the ongoing sleep deprivation they have to contend with? It is horrifically painful and most often highly undignified in trying to counteract.
The patience and general nous your staff display on a day to day basis has been so very impressive. It is a lesson I will carry for the remaining time I breathe on this fragile planet of ours. I thank you and your staff for that.
Finally. I would like to acknowledge one of your clients Stephen Shaw who permitted the use of his name. Stephen has become an "older friend of wisdom", whom in spite of his physical impediments still manages to walk to a local area restaurant to watch football games from the Premiership. I have enjoyed his company and learning of his own appalling stigmatized circumstances.
I highlighted an Hippocrates quote from Dr Carl Hart's (professor at New York's Columbia University) acclaimed book High Price. The title sums up the reality of exposed persons with any substance issue who all pay too high a price in the appalling treatment they receive from families on down.
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance" HIPPOCRATES
Andre. Please extend my sincere thanks to your staff for the heroic work they commit to with little fanfare or recognition. You all deserve medals of honor.
Best wishes and kindest regards to you all.
Paul J James
ps. many have been blind copied in addition to those cc'd, including as you can see the Right Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau