the not so invisible problem

I have been back in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (my Hometown) for two weeks now and I have noticed Homelessness is far worse than it was when I left 12 years ago. I have taken the time to speak to several people who are living on the streets and it breaks my heart. The City has taken a hardline stance on the Homeless. They are chased off the property of City Hall. I spoke with a former politician who wished to remain nameless and he said they shouldn’t be, that they have the same right of access to public property but this is not the case.

The shelter system is not a safe environment. People are robbed and beaten in the shelters. Some of the people I have spoken to have said they feel safer on the streets than in the shelters.

A homeless person cannot lay down on a park bench or on the grass in a park without getting chased away leaving only the sidewalk so long as they don’t impede traffic.

I think it is sad that the homeless are being treated as they are and the problem only seems to be getting worse.

Yesterday I saw workers of the city outreach program speaking with a homeless person when the police showed up to chase the man away, or arrest him. It’s ridiculous that two arms of the same municipal government are not working to achieve the same goal. In fact one only seems to counteract what the other is trying to do.park bench

I point the finger of shame at my city for failing in it’s social obligation

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11 thoughts on “the not so invisible problem”

    1. the outreach workers work for the municipal government and run a program called “streets to homes” but the work they are trying to do is being impeded by other levels of government. There are only about half a dozen of these street workers or so and they remain concentrated in the downtown core which is much larger than it sounds, pretty much the old city of Toronto before it became The Megacity and swallowed the surrounding Burroughs and cities. it is very sad…and the current mayor (Crackhead Rob Ford, he’s been all over the news) is the one responsible for the enforcement of some very old laws that were never enforced before.

      1. Our fair city restricts panhandling to little white lined boxes on sidewalks during specific times of the day. If you are caught passing someone a buck outside of the white lines of these boxes, YOU can be fined.

    1. I fully agree with you Dom. the homeless are people fallen on hard circumstance, they are not animals (in fact a stray dog would get more pity) or criminals. Budgets to outreach programs have been slashed and there just isn’t enough affordable housing… Society needs to man up and do the right thing.

      1. You are absolutely right. These are people like you and me and many of them just need a helping hand. They shouldn’t be treated like sub-humans, that is inexcusable and unfortunately Canada is not alone in this problem, the U.S. is just as bad if not worse. A sad state of affairs indeed.

  1. Sweden has what is called a cradle to grave society which means it supports its citizens from birth to death (so they say I can’t say it is perfect). When I first came I didn’t see any homeless but now I see a large number of immigrants begging on the streets. They collect a certain amount of money before returning home, they live on the money for a time and then return to Sweden again and start the process over. I have not witnessed anyone be rude or unkind (not saying it doesn’t happen) but then I don’t see people really interacting (save to give money) but Swedes are not generally social with strangers whatever the circumstances. There is a joke here that after 10 years you know your neighbor well-enough to say hello. Police officers here as far as I can tell or insanely nice and don’t carry weapons. The government here does offer financial support and such but the bureaucracy here is insanely difficult to understand so getting that help would be quite a challenge! I am afraid the mental ill suffer because of that, if they don’t have some sort of advocate because it really is mind-boggling and doctors do ignore the mentally ill here just as well chalking every complaint up to anxiety and not investigating physical symptoms. Children, however, get top notch treatment. All children have free health, dental, and education. If you have a child with a condition that cannot be treated in your local hospital the government pays for transport, room and board and everything for the family to ensure the child receives optimal care. Though doctors treat my husband like shit (males must suck up everything) they are wonderful with my daughter. My mother-in law is having some problems as well her legs are visibly deforming but the doctors still go right on ignoring. The emergency room has good staff but Vårdcentral is clearly run by Satan. Each family also receives money to help care for their children’s needs, the more children you have the more money your receive. There are certainly good aspects of socialism but it can be tough in other respects.

    1. it’s a shame that here the socialist programs (safety nets) are being cut at all levels of government… it really is sad… I think Canada could learn a thing or two from Sweden

      1. That is sad. I am afraid of the American influence on other societies (I am American). All that capitalist, elitist, caste system shit. The profit driven medical system. It just scares the hell out of me. Sweden does have some things going for it which is why we moved certainly I have more to offer my daughter here. Like she can go to college and not be in crippling debt her whole life. But of course every place has it problems but I feel I have the freedom to speak about them here

    2. I have the freedom to speak about them here, but problem is so very few listen and most just tune it out, until it directly affects them and by then it’s too late… also politicians use fear mongering… “taxes will go up if we fund these programs” thing is taxes are always going to go up… Canada is one of those countries that has been affected by American ideology

      1. That’s a shame because I have heard so many wonderful things about Canada in the past but lately I am starting to hear some disheartening news =( I have so much distrust for the government and organized religions power really does corrupt

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