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
Stock markets shuddered and skidded like an old, overloaded pickup truck on a bad country road this week, no doubt discomfiting several billionaires several times in several places. The stock market’s swerviness got lots of media coverage, so typical of these times in which we show a collective obsession with attaching numbers to as many things as possible so that we might understand them fully. The unevenness of our numerophilia was demonstrated by information from the Canadian Homelessness Research Network and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. These organizations have compiled a national report card. The report card seemed to get less urgent coverage than the stock market’s global case of the jitters. The latter coverage you could have wallpapered the Yukon with.
Just for the record, you can attach all the numbers you like to homelessness. Start with a cost reckoned to be seven billion dollars a year!
30,000 Canadians are homeless every night: 200,000 Canadians are homeless in any given year, national report says cbc.ca
The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 49-page .pdf file from homelesshub.ca
image: man wearing a “Capote” made from Hudson’s Bay blanket by Steelbeard1 via Wikimedia Commons
Well, this is certainly interesting …in a depressing-yet-designey kind of way. A young man living in a Dodge van in Vancouver. Turns out, he’s not alone. Rents are too high, wages are too low. See the link to Mathew Archer’s Tumblr for more on this reality.
Mobile Living: Vancouver Van Dwellers’ Nomadic Lives huffingtonpost.ca
See also: (103) A man’s home is his castle …and frequently also his shitbox
A grotto is simply a shallow cave or underground passage, a chamber. In more than one culture, grottoes are viewed as places of mystery and have associations and embellishments relating to spiritual life. A fashion for decorative, Christian-themed grottoes developed in the eighteenth century in Europe and grottoes near water or built into gardens are often tourist sites. We came across the grotto as a metaphor of suburban poverty and homelessness in a paper about Peel Region recently.
Homelessness in the suburbs: engulfment in the grotto of poverty
Studies in Social Justice Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 103-123, 2012
via Homeless Hub – 21-page .pdf file
We had hoped to provide links to more academic papers regarding suburban poverty and related topics by now. These papers, and the journals and institutions that publish them can pose payment and access issues at times for general internet users. These important documents, research efforts from academics who do the detailed, heavy lifting when it comes to understanding the world around us, will get more attention in future postings.
An example is the item linked below. It approaches the under representation of visible minority newcomers in the shelter system in Canada. It has been assumed that this reflects a strategy of residential crowding based on family and ethnic connections.
The paper is from Canadian Studies In Population 38, No. 1–2 (Spring/Summer 2011), pages 43–59. The author, Micheal Haan of the University of Alberta, asks if this observation represents a “hidden homelessness.”
Does immigrant residential crowding reflect hidden homelessness?
photo: See Ming Lee via Wikimedia Commons
Whenever a big storm, franken or otherwise, hits North America we see plenty in the media about the stranded travellers, the disruption to utilities and businesses, the influence of global warming and so forth. Never much about the homeless and socially excluded. With Sandy, at nine hundred miles across, the biggest storm in the lived human history of the Atlantic Ocean, there has actually been some mention of what might happen to the poor.
Shelter in a storm: homelessness even harder during Hurricane Sandy
Yesterday’s Toronto Star had an item about newcomers to Canada. A study indicates many new immigrants land directly in suburban poverty. They’ve been doing so for decades, truth be told.
New immigrants are the “hidden homeless”
Between Lake Simcoe and the northern border of Toronto lies York Region. It has just a shade over one million people and has been the venue of some very high intensity real estate development since the 1980s. It would appear to represent the pinnacle of fast growth and high-profit, up-to-the-minute suburban mega-success. Guess what? They have poverty and homeless people. The proof is available from the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness. Still photos and voiceovers tell the story overlooked amidst all the commercial activity, monster homes, and cars, cars, cars. You know, they probably should have just kept growing corn up there…
Hidden In Plain Site
From time-to-time in the Greater Toronto Area a group called OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, can garner attention for its activism. The general public alternates between apathy toward, and disapproval of, anything to do with OCAP. Among recent efforts is the open letter to Premier McGuinty at the link below. It makes a specific criticism of a municipal program designed to relieve homelessness in Toronto. The group objects to the way the program involves relocating those experiencing homelessness out of downtown areas to the edges.
Open Letter to Mayor David Miller, Councilor Joe Mihevc and Streets To Homes Manager Iain De Jong
For most of us, urban street people are generally what comes to mind when we hear the word homeless. People without secure and reasonable access to permanent places to live populate the suburbs in growing numbers. They are just less readily visible. They can include ‘couch-surfing’ young people, tent campers living alongside rivers or in woodlots and people in shelters or living in a motor vehicle. They are hard to count and hard to bring services to.
“Suburban homelessness has its own set of challenges. Suburbs often lack public transportation, shelters, and government assistance agencies. By far the largest hurdle the suburban homeless have to overcome is that they are not supposed to exist.”
Last refuge for the homeless: living in the car