facts about homelessness in Canada
A few posts ago I wrote about what I would do if I won the lottery, one of the things I didn’t mention is this. I would work to build a shelter unlike anything else ever seen.
When I was younger there was a factory that went out of business, the building sat vacant for a very long time before it was transformed in to high end condos. The condos sell for more than my house, and they are really nice, I would probably live there if I was on my own and could afford it.
Sadly there are many who simply cannot afford to put a roof over their head and it hurts me to the core. I know that Waterloo Region is better off than some communities but this area still has a lot to do. Late last year and earlier this year a lot of places that allowed homeless to stay during the cold winter months closed their doors. This left other organizations to act quickly to fill the gap.
At work the other day I overheard a few co-workers making the same comments that have been made by many people who feel that the only reason these people are homeless is because they want to be, or because they don’t want to get a job. I didn’t say anything maybe I should have because I was making me angry but I’m not one for confrontation in the work environment so i let it slide but it has bothered me that my co-workers would say such things.
Dependence on social assistance and homelessness is not what most people desire, I’m not crazy I know that there are the abusers of the system but we cannot let the actions of a few lead us to inaction for those who are truly vulnerable. Many people will bring up the old news stories about those few that were caught as frauds and say that it’s because of those few they cannot trust and therefore will not help those in need. I cannot say I blame them but for me I have to see each person in need as that, if I turn out to be proven wrong of course I would be angry and want to seek retribution against those who were false but I would not use those few as an excuse no to help someone in need.
This brings me to what I would love to do if I did win a lot of money. I would buy a big building (or have one built) It wouldn’t be more than 5 stories high but ideally it would take up a lot of room. The building would hold traditional apartments, subsidized housing for individuals and families, it would act as transitional housing for those seeking to turn their lives around, and it would have emergency beds for the homeless every night. I know that not all those who are homeless seek to change their situation but we would be there for them if they ever changed their mind. My dream is that in this building it would also have showers, lockers, gym, and a cafe where we could train at risk youth the skills they need to obtain meaningful employment. I would have doctors, dentists, and nurses come in daily if I could to help treat the homeless, I would want social workers and counselors available to help those who have mental health issues. I know that I would probably have concerns about substance abuse on site or those suffering from withdraw which means I would also want a secure area where they could safely stay and not be a danger to themselves or to others. My goal would be to have someone who is homeless seek help, have an address for their assistance cheques to go to and work their way through programs to help them become who they want to be. If they got their own apartment and a great job because of the services provided I would be the happiest person on earth.
I try very hard not to pass judgement on people, I have had labels placed on me by those who took one look at me and wrote me off, I hear what others’ say about those in need, and I choose not to be that person, I believe everyone deserves a chance to be happy. to have access to proper housing, proper food in order for them to reach their potential and to be free of judgement and ridicule. I know I’m not the only one, I confided this dream to my friend Holly who said that she had a similar dream, I hope that one day her and I can work together to make this dream a reality.
I don’t have much money, I get by, I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge, I also have my family under this roof and I do what I can when the opportunity arises. I wish I had more money, more time to devote to helping others’ but I hope that I do enough and I can’t wait to someday build my dream house, not for me but for those who truly need it.