Fredericton — It has recently come to light that the Fredericton men’s and women’s homeless shelters have been at capacity for most of the winter and are now turning people away into the seemingly endless cold.
Not only that, but the shelters’ funding — which primarily comes from fundraising with a small portion being paid for by the province — has all but dried up. This comes as a surprise, since from the beginning of fall, hundreds of more fortunate Fredericton citizens have been posting statuses on Facebook about the problem, and tweeting their sympathies.
Fredericton City Police have generously offered to take in the odd homeless person on the most bitterly cold winter nights, letting them enjoy the luxury of the drunk tank — a privilege usually reserved for intoxicated 19-year-olds who couldn’t make it home after a wild night at Klub Khrome. Other than this, no actual Frederictonians have offered real, tangible help, but have instead retreated to the safety of the Internet to gather empathy from other warm, clean, secure citizens.
“Thankful for my hubby, my dog, and my warm house. Thinking of those less fortunate! #grateful,” 39-year-old Sheila Raymond of Douglas Avenue posted on Facebook last November. The status gained likes and comments, but when Raymond was questioned this morning about her intent with that post, she admitted she had no plan of ever doing anything to help.
“What? That’s still going on?” she said with obvious surprise. “I guess I thought my status would get my friends thinking about unfortunate people and the alarming homelessness situation we have here,” she explained. “I hoped it would get the ball rolling — it did get like 9 shares, as I recall. I assumed someone with more money than I have would donate some to the shelter after seeing it.” Raymond then got out of her SUV to unload a dozen or so bags of groceries from Costco, effectively ending the interview.
“Just last week I posted a selfie on Instagram of me next to a homeless guy downtown,” said 22-year-old Sarah Brown, glowing with pride. “It was cold out, too. I think I made his day just by being willing to be seen with him.”
Brown thinks that part of the solution is raising #awareness about the plight of the homeless. “Here’s the issue — they’re lazy drug addicts; they just need to find a job and stop being addicted to substances. There’s the solution,” declared Brown triumphantly.
Reginald Baker, a doctor residing in New Maryland, said he tweeted about the homelessness issue multiple times over the course of the winter. “I’m just too busy to do anything myself, but I do have a huge social media following. My tweets were retweeted endlessly — I’m doing my part. I can’t donate, either, because I’ve got 9 children, all of whom have come to expect a certain standard of living,” he rationalized. “I really can’t scale back their lifestyle at this point just to helps some bums who probably don’t even have names; family comes first, then community.”
Unfortunately for the city’s unfortunate, the trend toward posting, tweeting, liking, sharing and commenting rather than doing — dubbed “slacktivism” — seems unlikely to change. The Manatee would like to help out, but that would compromise our journalistic integrity, and we really just don’t have the time or extra money right now. If any readers have a few spare dollars, donate to the shelter here: https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/7369?gclid=CMDtyoGP5cQCFXQV7Aod2W4Atw