HOMELESSNESS: Facts, strategies, shelters, programs, etc. – I want you and I to help the homeless!*

Vol. 4, No.25, Monday September 30, 2013

TITLE: “HOMELESSNESS: Facts, strategies, shelters, programs, etc. – I want you and I to help the homeless!*”

INTRODUCTION

As you  know, with my recent move, I’ve been lately thinking a lot about my house.  This got me thinking about the homeless.  With the changing of seasons and the coming of the cold weather, this problem becomes more urgent.  Therefore my book of the week if “Homelessness:  The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis”  [Paperback] by Jack Layton (Author).  (Note:  This is another post in a continuing series on general issues.)

You could blame schizophrenia or affective disorders for homelessness, but that’s not always the case.  Other reasons could be: a break-up, being evicted from an apartment, release from prison, etc. Another is the impact of a natural disaster. A good example is when people lost their homes due to floods in Quebec and Manitoba or the ice storm of 1998. A youth thrown out of the family home might be called homeless.

On a different level, homelessness is not always a person without a home.  Sometimes, it could be a person who loses his or her job and has to move in with family or with friends. To a degree, such a person could be considered homeless.  But, most of the time, this is only temporary.

In the past, the homeless were mostly men, but there has been a growing number of women and children among the homeless population.  According to surveys, one in 10 homeless people attempt suicide every year.  In the very cold winters and very hot summers, some homeless people die.

My heart opens up for the homeless. I can’t imagine not having a home to go to … a roof over my head, with a warm bed and food in the refrigerator.  During my bad times, my family was there for me and I will never forget that.

Story in my neighborhood: I remember seeing a homeless man circulating near a shopping centre in my neighborhood. He wore torn and shabby clothing and his shoes were broken.  A friend of mine bought him a pair of new shoes.  He would be seen pushing a carriage full of his belongings.  It broke my heart.  Apparently, the gentleman was a person with a high profile career.  A tragic car accident, killing his wife and daughter, affected him mentally.  He was unable to function and became a homeless person.  Many people were generous towards him.  Recently I heard that a good Samaritan helped him get his life back.  He is now employed and has a home.  Of course, not all stories about the homeless have a happy ending.

THE AUTHOR: Jack Layton

Most Canadians know of and liked the late Jack Layton.  Layton was born in 1950 in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Hudson, a small nearby town.  He went to McGill University and received his Bachelors and his Masters degrees.  He also received a PhD from York University.  His thesis considered the attempts by countries to control the flow of multinational capital. For 20 years, he served as city councillor in Toronto.

In January 2003, he became leader of the federal NDP, a Canadian political party.  In the 2004 federal election, he won election as the MP in Toronto-Danforth by more than one million votes. In May 2005 in exchange for NDP support in the minority Parliament, Layton negotiated an amendment to the government’s budget.  The negotiation was to delay $4.6 billion in corporate tax cuts.  In this way, he helped Canada to lower education costs, cut pollution, build affordable housing, improve transit, increase foreign aid. He even argued for new protection for pensions in the case of employer bankruptcies.  In his last federal election, he won a break through, especially in Quebec, earning opposition status for his party. However, he served only a short time as opposition leader. On August 8, 2011, Jack Layton, died at 61 after a struggle with cancer. He was well- respected for his honesty, commitment and passion to make the world a better place. His grace will be remembered.

SERIES/COLLECTION

Books/Articles:

Here are several examples:

THE BOOK:  Homelessness:  The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis [Paperback] by Jack Layton (Author)

In the past, some might have thought that homelessness only involved those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse. But we now know that this is incorrect. There are numerous reasons.

But today, homeless is far worse than we once thought. In a land of plentiful, it’s hard to understand and accept homelessness.  We all ask: “What should we do?” Jack Layton, an expert and outspoken activist on housing issues, saw homelessness as a social problem –indeed a social crisis. The book “Homelessness” gives you a view, an outlook and proactive solutions.

CONCLUSION

Homelessness is a bad place to be.

Personal Comments

I say:

  • That many people don’t have a helping hand through a rough time.  For some people it’s just for a short period of time.  And for others, when they hit rock bottom, it’s much longer. Sometimes, they never recover.
  • That I know that the cold nights will be here soon. The homeless might spend their days in shopping centers and subway stations. In the nighttime, they look to shelters, but there may not be a vacancy.
  • That I have a concern that homeless people might use donated money to buy alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.  I’ve heard that some people give food instead of money. Since I consider these habits as unhealthy, I say:  “Good idea!”

The Point

We need to eliminate or at least, reduce homelessness.

ANTOINETTE’S TIP SHEET*

Everyone should:

1.  Lose the stereotype that homeless people are boozers, drug addicts or wanderers. They are           people just like you and me.

2. Differentiate the different types of homelessness: (a) Chronic homelessness – this is someone        has been homeless for a long time; (b) Homelessness from uncontrollable circumstances –            this is when one loses a job or is enduring a difficult divorce, etc.; or it’s where there is a flood      or fire; (c) Temporary homelessness – this is where it arises from mental disorders or drug              abuse;

3. Note that homelessness is in part a symptom of: (a) Lack of low income housing; and (b)                  Lower unemployment rate;

4. Be aware that homelessness is caused by one or more of the following: :

(a) Break-up in a relationship

(b) Being evicted from your apartment

(c) Youth thrown out of a family home

(d) Out of prison

(e) Mental disorders

(f) Runaway youths

5.  Recognize that a growing number of women and children are becoming homeless;

6.  Ask yourself how you can render assistance to the homeless;

7. Give pocket change to the needy, particularly the homeless; and when you can; write a check      to local missions and organizations serving the homeless;

8. Donate food and clothes … whatever you can;

9. Help a family member in decline;

10. Inform a homeless person that there are services available. Refer him or her to social assistance, government offices, organizations etc. Help him or her to get into the offered programs;

11.  Rally your fellow citizens and politicians to do more, particularly, the enhancement of services, increase of overnight beds,  the building of more social housing, etc.

Home is where the heart is! Let’s do more!

And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
ALP
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”

PREVIEW (Tentatively scheduled for Monday, Oct. 7th 2013) : Some know it as Fall. Others call it Autumn  Whatever the name, it’s coming. I’ll share some of my thoughts.

PREVIEW (Tentatively scheduled for Monday, Oct. 14th 2013) : This time of the year means that TV networks roll out their new programs and the start of the season for our old shows. I will tell you about my favorites. Maybe you’ll agree or maybe you won’t. Let’s see.

P.S. Big News: There are more changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.

P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit www.twitter.com –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: www.facebook.com – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit  www.linkedin.com – Antoinette La Posta

CREDITS

-Web Tech:  richmediasound.com

The above is a new media production of Valente under its “United Author*” program.
*TM/© 2013 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
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NEED SOMETHING FURTHER? TRY SAVE AND READ* (S&R*) .

ONE – “IT WORDS FOR ME!*”
For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “homelessness”; “homelessness in Canada”; etc.

“Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure, and adequate housing, or lack “fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.[1] (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness

Homelessness in Canada has grown in size and complexity in recent years.[1] While historically known as a crisis only of urban centres such as Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Montreal, the increasing incidence of homelessness in the suburbs is necessitating new services and resources.[2] (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_Canada)

TWO– STUDY/STATISTICS:

Highlights

“The data presented here are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates. The CPS ASEC is a sample survey of approximately 100,000 household nationwide. These data reflect conditions in calendar year 2012.

  • In 2012, the official poverty rate was 15.0 percent. There were 46.5 million people in poverty.
  • For the second consecutive year, neither the official poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty at the national level were statistically different from the previous year’s estimates.
  • The 2012 poverty rate was 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession.
  • In 2012, the poverty rate for people living in the West was statistically lower than the 2011 estimate.
  • For most groups, the number of people in poverty did not show a statistically significant change. However, between 2011 and 2012, the number of people in poverty did increase for people aged 65 and older, people living in the South, and people living outside metropolitan statistical areas.
  • The poverty rate in 2012 for chil­dren under age 18 was 21.8 per­cent. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 13.7 percent, while the rate for people aged 65 and older was 9.1 percent. None of these poverty rates were statistically different from their 2011 estimates.1

Footnotes:

1 Since unrelated individuals under 15 are excluded from the poverty universe, there are 468,000 fewer children in the poverty universe than in the total civilian noninstitutionalized population.” (Source: US Census Bureau –http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/)

THREE – BONUS ARTICLES

S & R*NEWS ALERT*#1: Protect your home against winter’s wrath

“(NC) As Canadians, we are fortunate to experience nature’s splendour through all four seasons. However, extra steps need to be taken to protect your home against damage that could be incurred with cold temperatures, ice and snow.

Preparing your home for old man winter’s arrival will help you to protect your investment, says Royal LePage broker Carla Bouchard. A few simple steps can restore your peace of mind and have your home winter-ready. Bouchard recommends the following tips for winter home preparation: 1. Clean out your gutters and install gutter guards. Reduce the chance of an ice dam by removing debris from your gutters. Ice dams form when indoor heat melts the ice on your roof. If there is nowhere for the melted ice to flow, it will collect in your gutters and re-freeze, causing potential water damage when warmer temperatures return. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation also recommends using electrical de-icing cables or low-corrosion chemical de-icers. 2. Use a chimney sweep service at least once per year. Many Canadians enjoy a crackling fire on cold winter nights. Chimney sweep services remove soot, blockages and any accumulating creosote, a highly flammable substance, from your chimney, thereby reducing the potential for a chimney fire. 3. Protect pipes located near the exterior of your home. Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems caused by freezing temperatures. It is important to ensure that pipes running through your garage or other exterior areas are well insulated. If you plan to be away, set your thermostat at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and open cupboards under your sinks to allow heat to flow through. You can find more information at www.royallepage.ca. www.newscanada.co

S & R*NEWS ALERT*#2: A checklist for homeowners as summer gives way to fall and winter

“The fierce winds and fluctuating temperatures of an unpredictable Canadian winter put a strain on every household. There’s little wonder that autumn becomes a frenzy of renovations, upgrades and last-minute projects. But before any of those changes take place, an equally important step in winter preparation is the completion of any end-of-summer maintenance.

According to RONA experts, Transitioning into winter isn’t just about getting ready for the cold season. It’s about wrapping up the summer and getting organized. Remember your end-of-summer chores to keep your house beautifully preserved for the next warm season.

Here is your checklist for three key areas of your home:

Doors and windows:

Keep your home’s heating system in good shape and your heating bill down by addressing any leaks and holes that create drafts in your home.

Replace the weather-stripping and caulking where needed around doors and windows as these are key areas for heat loss during the winter months.

For older doors and windows, consider upgrading to energy efficient options that will create a tighter seal. If you have an older home, a professional can do a blow-test that may be beneficial for helping to identify problem areas.

Run water through your gutters to see if it comes smoothly through the downspouts. Any clogs should be removed before the water backs up and causes damage. Leaks and cracks can be repaired with a fresh bead of caulk. Also, check each piece to make sure it is secured tightly to the building.

Pipes:

Remove, drain and store all outdoor garden hoses.

Turn off all exterior spigots so that water left in the pipes does not freeze and break the pipes.

Consider replacing spigots with freeze-proof faucets, particularly if your home is older.

Wrap pipes in foam to insulate them.

Machinery:

Don’t forget to clean and maintain tools such as lawnmowers and other motorized tools. Some lawnmowers have a new feature on the hood where you can attach either a garden hose or a pressure-washer so that it will clean the clippings off from underneath the hood.

Take time to ensure that your household is equipped with sufficient shovels and de-icing salt. You will be happy you did it before that first big snowfall.

If all you can remember from last winter is back pains from all the shovelling, consider getting a snowblower. To maintain the snowblower, test it to see if it runs, check spark plugs, replace gas filters, and take it to a professional for a tune-up if necessary.

By taking these proactive steps, you’ll reduce your risk of repairs in the below-freezing weather. The key is to get them done before the warm weather disappears into a hazy summer memory.” www.newscanada.com

*TM/© 2013 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

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