The response to COVID-19 prompted a reflection on words and government spending. Words because some are overused and have lost their meaning, and government spending because I have not seen anything like it in my lifetime.
The word crisis is defined as “a state of urgent need or grave danger; a decisive or pivotal event”. In the past year we have apparently faced many crises – homelessness, poverty and opioids to name a few. The response to the COVID-19 crisis provides some perspective.
Within six months, the reaction to the pandemic was swift. Billions of dollars provided and many rules implemented. A crisis was recognized, an attitude of resolve was established and a response made.
At the same time, COVID-19 is only one of several health crises that are prevalent in our community. Throughout the pandemic, we have just as many people experiencing homelessness in London as before and neighbours are still dying from opioid overdoses. Not only have homelessness, poverty, and the opioid crises continued during the pandemic, they have, in many cases, been exacerbated on account of it.
In 1989, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution to “seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000”. An acknowledgment that child poverty is intolerable in Canada.
Homelessness, poverty, and opioids are matters of life and death. As such, they too require the recognition, resolve, and response that have been displayed throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
At some point we will return to conversations regarding the crises that have continued to impact the health of our neighbours. I would argue that our current experience with COVID-19 provides a new standard of measurement to judge how well we respond to crises in the future.
Today with your help, Men’s Mission continues to actively respond to neighbours experiencing need through safe emergency shelter, nourishing meals, referrals to community resources and support, and assistance with securing stable housing.
Mission Services of London, Men’s Mission, recognizing, resolving and responding – loving God, loving others.