“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
Dreadful is the only word to describe this. Canada needs a full-on, federal-provincial housing strategy.
Body found in burnt-out shed in Scarborough. Structure may have been in use as a living shelter cbc.ca
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.
A perfect storm for action on affordable housing. The political stars are aligned, so it’s time for every one of us to become a champion for affordable housing
Housing & Homelessness Services: Daily Shelter Census
image: Toronto at night in winter by Joe Howell via Wikimedia Commons
More mixed messages from the USA in need of irony-signifying quotation marks: a legal “victory” for the “right” to live in your car. Our back hurts just thinking about this one.
Appeals court overturns Los Angeles ban on living in vehicles. The ruling called the decades-old LA law “cryptic” and discriminatory against homeless people
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.
Mental Health Commission of Canada unveils major study on homelessness reduction metronews.ca
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.
Homeless turn overnight bus route into Hotel 22
image: AEMoreira042281 via Wikimedia Commons
Slim social services, transportation issues, and costly housing for those in social difficulty nag at the high self-esteem and prosperity of a large suburban area immediately north of Toronto.
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.
Homeless rights group vows to appeal dismissal of Charter challenge
image: Peregrine981 via Wikimedia Commons
Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
Canada’s Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran churches have challenged themselves to do more about homelessness. Excellent! Earlier this month a joint assembly of the churches resulted in a strong statement regarding the moral dilemma presented by homelessness and the allocation of resources.
This is heavenly music to our ears. One of suburban-poverty.com’s satellite offices was located for many years around the corner from two really nice cooperative housing efforts. When passing these well-kept, well-designed buildings, fully integrated to their surroundings and home to many we often reflected on how there should be much more of this kind of thing. If the major Christian churches want to become, or remain, relevant to people then let them go into the cooperative housing business. In the meantime, advocacy and powerful statements of conscience are good, good things.
2013 Joint Assembly