The Thanksgiving weekend has passed, and I need to focus on the positive… once I get a little rant off my chest.
I do have much to be grateful for, especially since we’ve had fantastic fall weather. Just yesterday Scott and I enjoyed a mellow bike ride admiring the changing colours in the trees and all the cute dogs being walked. Plus, my rant is common as a Vancouverite because most people know that the housing situation here is beyond absurd, and yet we still live here. What bothers me more is the seniors who are being left stranded without proper shelter and support.
Last week a regular wheel-chair bound patron popped by to say hello and share about his day. He’s living at the UGM shelter right now, and is incredibly positive and grateful. He had to bring his former roommate to the shelter as well, a place the man vowed to never stoop to going.
The roommate is in his 70s, and had been living in a house for over ten years in the area of Main and 50th. He was best friends with the elderly landlords who lived upstairs, often enjoying their company, watching sports shows, and having meals together. The woman ended up losing her mental faculties and had to be specially housed, and then the man also had to enter a Seniors home.
The landlords decided to give up their home to their daughter, as an inheritance and within weeks the husband of this lady kicks out the elderly tenant. The man was in denial, and even tried to sneak back into his home and sleep on the couch, but was caught and refused entry. There was absolutely no thought for this individual and the relationship he had with the aging parents. So, my buddy had to introduce this man to the world of shelters at the age of 70, a former BCTel installer. He said that, at least they were given bunk beds opposite each other so he could look out for his friend. While my patron tried to make it sound like an adventure, the reality is pretty sad. Grown men sharing bunk beds with nowhere else to go.
I really hope Jean Swanson wins the upcoming Vancouver by-election and pushes through the “Mansion Tax.” This city can do better for folks like my library patrons. I keep reading about other seniors living in vans, living in squalor because their luck has changed and the city rejects them. It’s heartbreaking.
Simultaneously, young people are being completely screwed over because even though there is loads of work in the city, there are no apartments in a reasonable rent range, so they have to live out of the city and commute for hours! An article was published today entitled, “Why won’t young workers take jobs in Vancouver?” all about how desperate small businesses are to attract staff, but are unable to find workers since the average 1 bedroom apartment costs $2020 a month, but these entry level jobs mean a take home of about $2798 a month. Vancouver is alienating it’s own workforce! What a foolish, ridiculous arrangement.
In other parts of my day, I lost a full hour of my time to a manipulative philanthropist who I later learned was shunned by Carnegie Centre staff, and possibly mad. I photocopied thirty memorial posters for a recently deceased member of VANDU. Gave a tour to a Librarian who will cover my holidays and upcoming acting experience at Marpole library. And, essentially just busted my butt looking up the answers to random questions from acquiring a travel visa to Brazil, pictures of spaceships, NHL hockey scores, how to email the new Minister of Social services, etc.
It’s good to feel productive, but I’m feeling the pull to leave Vancouver especially when I’m crashing, irritated, and borderline feverish. Whenever I get exhausted I also get embittered towards my employer, mainly because I don’t get the same pay-rate as the other Branch Heads. I am paid less to work at the Carnegie because I don’t have any full-time Librarians working beneath me since it’s so small. Instead, I get to do everything and work in an environment 3 or 4 times as busy as the average branch without this support. I don’t like myself when I dwell on this… it feels stingy.
I love being busy, I love the connections, so I should simply eat some pumpkin pie and be grateful to have a home and a job! This frustration will pass and I know if I pursued another library location I would be bored.