This time of year we spend a lot of time thinking about warmth.
There’s the warmth that comes with the feelings of goodwill that pervade society, but there is also the simple warmth of sitting by a fire or the warmth of being with friends and family as we gather in the days of growing darkness through this holiday season.
But as we revel in this warmth, remember there are still many for whom warmth is a luxury, homeless or with limited means forcing them to choose between eating or being warm.
Society tends to look out for these people a little more at this time of year, funding emergency cold shelters, giving a little extra to the food bank so they can have a Christmas hamper, and supporting other services.
Food, clothing and shelter are the most basic needs we have. For the less fortunate in society meeting those needs is an everyday problem; and shelter and staying warm can be the most difficult of all.
Penticton has seen some important steps forward in this process over the last year, including the conversion of the old Bel-Air motel into truly low-cost housing and a deal that will see rental units for low and moderate income built on Brunswick Street.
By themselves, though, it’s not enough to give everyone a warm place to call home. Every step along the way is progress to building a better life, and there are some simple actions governments could take, like nailing down the definition of what constitutes affordable housing, so developers will stop attaching that phrase to $400,000 condo projects.
Come Christmas Day, there will be cold and hungry people on the streets. Nor is this going to be the last year for that. But if we make that one of the cornerstones of building a just society, maybe someday we will get there.