LETTER: For a former refugee, ending homelessness is not just homes but love and more

Eight years ago I lived in a refugee camp in Kenya, where I spent more than two decades after being displaced from my beautiful home country, Somalia. I walked 100km at the age of five to get to a safe place, experiencing abject poverty, homelessness and losing everything including pictures of my family, my toys and more importantly friends, safety, and security.

Two years ago, seeing the tent city outside the Victoria courthouse brought me back to my experience in the refugee camp where I was constantly displaced, suffering in the heat and rains and from people and government who didn’t like me because I was poor and a refugee.

I see a parallel here, British Columbians are not doing enough for homeless people because of hatred. Everyone uses the buzzwords “housing affordability” but ending homelessness is not just homes. It’s unconditional love to poor people, and acknowledging to Indigenous people that you wronged them historically and continuously dispossess them. It’s challenging biases against people experiencing health crisis. Just this week reports came out saying 45% of people who died of overdose in BC had sought help for physical pain and 52% were in mental pain.

Loving people will cost you nothing and it will save lives. Just ask yourself how you would want be treated if you were homeless, a refugee, or a poor person.

People here have many privileges and privileges comes with responsibilities, even if you don’t do anything to end homelessness at least challenge your bias!

Mohammed A. Adam


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