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Letter: If this Coquitlam arena can be seized for vaccinations, why can't it double as a homeless shelter?

'I'm all for using our civic spaces to help facilitate administering vaccines, but I don't understand why we continue to leave people outside.'
Coquitlam Poirier Forum
The Poirier Forum in Coquitlam, typically used for gym sports and pickleball, will be transformed into a mass vaccination clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic to get shots into people's arms.

The Editor:

I'm going to ask an unpopular question and I don't mean any disrespect: If we can cancel sporting activities in order to host a vaccine clinic, why can't we do the same when it comes to housing the homeless in the midst of a pandemic? 

The city of Victoria converted their sporting arena into a temporary homeless shelter for the second year in a row with cots and privacy dividers; here in the Tri-Cities, it took a severe weather alert and the threat of people freezing to death before we opened an Emergency Weather Response shelter — 14 months into the pandemic. Even then the shelter space was provided by a local church and the shelter was overseen by the Phoenix Society. 

I just can't wrap my head around that. 

I'm all for using our civic spaces to help facilitate administering vaccines, but I don't understand why we continue to leave people outside. Coquitlam alone cannot bear the responsibility of providing shelter for the Tri-Cities homeless population.

It is time for each municipality to step up and do its part. Only then can we call ourselves truly inclusive communities. 

Rob Bottos, Coquitlam

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