LETTER: Reconsider closing Whispers

LETTER: Reconsider closing Whispers

The Elders of Gospel Chapel weigh in on Whispers of Hope.

Editor, the Gazette

Open letter to Mayor and Council

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council of Elders of Gospel Chapel on a matter of grave concern to all our citizens, namely the closing of the facilities used by Whispers of Hope Benevolence Society and Boundary Emergency Transitional Housing Society.

After meeting, we decided as a church community very much concerned with the safety and well-being of our citizens — especially those less fortunate than most — to implore you to reconsider your decision.

This decision effectively holds Whispers responsible for any untoward behaviour done outside and around the building and property, not on the property. This constitutes a wide generalization and in effect punishes the majority of quiet and honest clients for the possible behaviours of a few, and these few may well be people who themselves are in great need of special treatment. We believe council has erred in making Whispers responsible for what happens on city property.

It would also seem that the possibility of a wild fire would be greatly increased with people needing independent heating arrangements. Empty stomachs have little patience.

Whispers and BETHS are not responsible for homelessness and should not be singled out for punishment.

As to “drug paraphernalia,” this may have been a problem in some areas. I had the honour to lunch at Whispers. The folks there were extremely peaceful and dignified. And having walked through the so-called “tent city,” with a population of seven or eight people, I saw no evidence of any needles. All garbage was in bags and stacked for pick-up. This is an out-of-the-way peaceful spot where people can survive until they have the opportunity for some improvement in their lives.

Fourth, there is also the legal issue of terminating a lease with no demonstrably valid reason. Whether or not this is a legally valid action, the perception will hardly seem so.

The Council of Elders of Grand Forks Gospel Chapel, therefore, invites the Council of the City of Grand Forks to be proactive in seeking a viable and humane solution to this issue.

We, as a board and as a church community of proven social outreach respectfully ask that you consider extending the time to the required terms of the lease in order to allow both Whispers of Hope and BETHS to find alternative strategies to maintain their programs.

Does Grand Forks really want to be perceived as the city that kicked out its poor or swept them under the rug like so much dust?

Ian Robins

Chair of Elders Council

Grand Forks Gospel Chapel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Giant prize-winning pumpkins and squash are standard fare at the Pass Creek Fall Fair. Photo: Betsy Kline
Pass Creek Fall Fair cancelled for 2021

Event cancelled for second time

Police are advising of a scam actively happening in the Kootenay Boundary, one that involves a person trying to sell the victim gold for cash. Problem is, the gold is fake. Photo: Matt Flores on Unsplash
Fake gold scam re-surfaces in the Kootenay Boundary

Victims are approached in high-traffic areas by someone claiming to need emergency cash

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Jake the service dog is trained to give calming hugs to his caretaker and handler, Rae-Lynee Dicks, who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Jake and Rae-Lynne: The story of a Grand Forks woman and her service dog

Jake is on his way to completing his training, but it’s been difficult to socialize him in the pandemic

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

Most Read