“Gunner died in a bleak, windswept area near the railway tracks, far from the bright lights and tall buildings of downtown.”
In suburban-poverty.com’s home city, Mississauga, there’s a legendary moment that gets brought up now and then in volunteer and social services circles. It has to do with the time the city’s mayor was brought, while maybe halfway through her four-decade-long career, to see physical evidence of full-on homelessness. She was utterly floored by the idea her huge, growth-crazed suburban realm had some two dozen or so people living under a railroad bridge, in a culvert or two and sleeping rough in woodlots or behind industrial buildings. This was something like twenty years ago.
Suburban homelessness is a problem often neglected in Toronto
Canada’s biggest city-region should have the best housed people on the face of the Earth. The following opinion piece from The Toronto Star reads well next to the Daily Shelter Census from the City of Toronto.
image: Toronto at night in winter by Joe Howell via Wikimedia Commons
image: Pearson Scott Foresman via Wikimedia Commons
Canada’s Mental Health Commission has bolstered our understanding of how to mitigate a serious social difficulty. Excellent. Money well spent it seems on a program designed to get those with mental illness into good, supportive housing as quickly as possible. In Canada the system has tended to treat or control mental illness first and house later. Early results indicate a hopeful direction but the media coverage of this could positive story should have been stronger in our opinion.
Housing and homelessness
mentalhealthcommission.ca – this page features a number of topic-related documents
A worthy document from the Homeless Hub was released today, asking us to really look at youth homelessness in Canada. After children come youth in the needs hierarchy because exposure to social difficulty at these stages in life acts as a magnifier of difficulty in later in years – elevating the raw dollar cost of response and the loss of human potential. The report is detailed, peer reviewed and contains international comparisons so that Canadians can get a better idea of what is possible. The truth seems to be that Canada could do a better job at applying resources in greater depth before young people arrive in precarious situations and are forced to draw on front line responses.
Homeless Hub Start page with youth homelessness infographic & media links
Coming of age: reimagining youth homelessness in Canada 135-page .pdf file
image: homeless youth near train tracks in Vancouver area (anonymous) via Wikimedia Commons
Adaptation is expected of the poor at all times. An example thereof was examined by a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News recently. Lacking income and shelter people in social difficulty are hopping on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s #22 bus for cover after hours. It’s the only 24-hour route in the system and this double life as a rolling, diesel-engined night hostel has earned it the nickname Hotel 22. Submitted by a suburban-poverty.com reader this item illustrates too well the housing and transportation issues of those in difficulty in Silicon Valley.
image: AEMoreira042281 via Wikimedia Commons
York region tackles youth homelessness Toronto Star
image: Oak Ridges Plaza by raysonho via Wikimedia Commons
In 2010 an activist group undertook to employ Canada’s constitution against homelessness, poverty and social exclusion. Not to be righteous and strident of course but among the functions of Canada’s constitution is the protection of equality, security of person, liberty and life itself: all things directly assaulted by homelessness, poverty and social difficulty. The argument is made that a lack of affordable housing and cuts to social programs are contrary to the constitution and that the courts might be in a position to order the government to redress the damage done thereby.
Alas, the case has been quashed. The quashing judge expressed some understanding of the importance of a minimum standard of living and, we have to say, made a powerful, if obvious, point. Namely, that social policy is the business of parliaments, not so much is it the outcome of court decisions. That’s a bit of a bomb toss if you ask us. An appeal will be launched.
image: Peregrine981 via Wikimedia Commons