One mall in Canada has decided to take action towards helping the local homeless community. Unlike several other shopping centres in the country, Vancouver's Pacific Centre is now allowing homeless people to sleep inside the mall. On top of this, the shopping centre is also taking additional steps to helping the homeless people who do end up spending the night in the mall.
According to News1130, members of the homeless community will now be permitted to sleep and spend the shopping centre, and also use the building's amenities in the morning.
In order to faciliate the mall's new policy towards the homeless, night shift employees will be trained. Workers will learn first aid and mental health training, and also be taught how to properly handle and de-escalate any conflicts or confrontations, Vancouver Courier reports.
Brent Findley, senior manager of security, life and safety at Pacific Centre, recently spoke with Vancouver Courier. "Everyone thinks it’s easy to get into a shelter. It’s not," he said. “We’ve always sort of been in a bit of a homeless crisis, but it’s becoming a mental health and addiction crisis as well.”
This move is being praised by several people, including Union Gospel Mission (UGM) homeless advocate Jeremy Hunka. UGM is a Canadian charity based in Vancouver that works to help the vulnerable community overcome poverty, homelessness
“If businesses reach out and even just treat people with more compassion, it’s more likely for that exchange,” Hunka told News1130. “That relationship can be great for both sides.”
“When people are homeless and feel like people care and that they are welcomed, they have more opportunity to reach out for help and get out of that circumstance.”
A number of people on the Internet are also praising the decision. Several Reddit users expressed their support for the move.
On Reddit, there are also critics who believe that the initative will not be effective.
Homelessness is now at an all-time high and is a significant problem in Metro Vancouver, Union Gospel Mission reports on their website. Currently, over 3,600 people are homeless in the city. To find out more or to donate to Union Gospel Mission, you can visit their website.
Cadillac Fairview’s CF Pacific Centre is one of the most popular malls in Metro Vancouver with over 100 malls. It is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. To find out more about the shopping centre, you can visit Pacific Centre's website.