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Presentation examines the state of the homeless in Terrace

The University of Northern BC held a presentation today on the state of the homeless in Terrace.

The presentation was by Christopher Gee, a social service instructor at Northwest Community College.

Gee says one of the major barriers when it comes to discussing the homeless is the pre-conceived ideas people have about what it means to be homeless.

He says while the homeless count is a useful tool, it misses those who may be couch surfing, or staying with friends and family temporarily.

Gee says outdated stereotypes continue the stigma against the homeless, and need to change.

Because of that stigma against the homeless, it often means their voices and opinions are marginalized, according to Gee.

He says many are now only managing paycheque to paycheque, and that means more people are vulnerable to poverty and homelessness.

But he remains optimistic that there are people in Terrace who want to help, despite what he says is a vocal minority that is against offering service to those suffering from poverty and homelessness.

He says the opposition to opening a new damp shelter in Terrace’s downtown area is rooted in fear, but adds the current situation is dire and that what is needed is much more services, rather than arguments about building suitability.

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