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Homelessness - stories of living on the street?

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
SEATON HOUSE.
some scary motherfuckers in there.
more drugs in there than most clubs.
this place puts COMFORT ZONE to S H A M E ! ! !
councellors are really bent on making damn sure you NEVER have to come there EVER EVER AGAIN.

i really got caught up into the club scene ....HARD.
INDUSTRY was my preschool, and elementary introduction...after that, the wheels fell COMPLETELY OFF.
lost everything. family was out of province...and i didnt want to bring grief to them.
i actually checked myself into SEATON HOUSE to give myself a head check...it worked.
got help...guidance...talked to people who knew from experience just how shitty is can be AT THE BOTTOM.

life is GRAND now.

i look back at being NFA... it toughened me up...made me realize lifes something i could handle.
because...
NO ONE SHOULD EVER HANDLE SEATON HOUSE.
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
While living in Tanzania, I had an interesting conversation with an attorney coworker of mine.

We were talking about homeless people. In Tanzania, "homeless" has a different connotation than it does in Canada. There, many (most) people don't have a "house" or "apartment" per se, though I doubt any of them would consider themselves homeless. In the city where I was, of about 3 million people or more, it seemed a lot more like one big community, where people would visit and chit-chat and then just kotch whereever they happened to be when the sun went down (which is did promptly at about 6pm every day).

They weren't 'poor' by local standards, nor were they 'insane' or otherwise challenged: it's just the way it is there. "housing optional"

So I got onto talking about this with my coworker, and it didnt seem like a big deal to him at all. Then I saw an idea come into his head and he asked me (in Swahili) "What happens to the homeless people in Canada during winter?"

And I answered in a simple sort of way,

"They die."

I watched some thoughts cross through his mind, then we both went on working.

Why do we (canadians/westerners) assume that its so important to have a house/apartment?

-jM
A&D
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
we lack the ' community ' that tanzania has, our citizens are not as trusting, i believe this society is geared and encouraged towards owning property, for security that many are conditioned to desire, the guv makes money off property tax.


there are many reasons available, i think though we lack the humanistic/moralistic character traits exhibited by the tanzanians, therefore the selfish tendancies and indifference of good people seemingly cripple the very idea of this happening.



[jai
 

Blue Meanies

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Homelessness - stories of living on the street?

Originally posted by Jeffsus
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is an expert trying to tell me that in the GTA there are about a million people living in poverty? *scratches head*
Isn't there a poverty line when it comes to gross anual income (when doing taxes)? and wouln't people on welfare be considered living in poverty?:confused:
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
the stats on poverty and what constitutes living in poverty and homelessness are terribly awkward and overly complicated methods of measuring prosperity.

there are these definitions of homelessness that make no sense because it can refer to a large range of circumstance. a kid from an abusive home who makes use of a community shelter for a few days in the past x amount of time can be counted as having suffered from homelessness and will be included in the stat.

women fleeing abusive relationships may find themselves on the street or in a shelter, but their homelessness in this case is a much different one.

equally different than the mentally disturbed on the streets or who fall between the cracks of social services and bounce from homeless to institution. there are many many people who manage to funtion either on the street or bouncing around shelters on the fringe of society due to a right medication mix that keeps them from being confined to a cell or in jail for destructive behaviour.

stats on the homeless are notoriously dodgy considering how difficult it is to do a proper head count, and consistently have people who have mental problems give you an accurate account of where they came from and how htey got there.

back in the day they used to lock many people up who are today on the streets or in shelters. their proliferation in some ways speaks to our changing methods of dealing and interacting with people who have difficulty securing shelter and sustanence.

the 1/4 poverty stat is absolutley ridiculous. remember 4 students over the age of 18, sharing a rented house while working part time and going to school can be counted as having incomes below the poverty line, depending on how you amass those stats.

a few mitigating factors that can begin to add up: there is a tremendous amount of small-medium sized buisness in this city which is well understood that these operators do not accurately report their full income, much the same way waiters dont. but according to tax data, the waiter who pulls $250 cash per night only claimed the minimum. he is blow the poverty line at say $16,000 per year.

also increasing new immigrant families in toronto who have just arrived and face financial difficulties initially, many many of the families who live in the sprawling suburbs had their starts in modest toronto residences. poverty can be only a starting point for many, not a good indication of the direciton they are headed.

how much work is done under the table, blackmarkets, for cash, overtime in construction for cash, etc etc etc. this starts to cloud the way you measure poverty.
it doesnt take away from the poverty in this city no doubt. but before you can better address the issue, you need a more upfront measure of who needs the help and how many there actually are.

sorry for the ramble, yes ive known homelss people who are there fleeing abusive homes or mental illness. i lost one of my cases a month ago because he just lost it and checked into a shelter but soon was booted for being violent and i cant track him down. i think saying the mentally ill dont make that choice fails to recognize how little choice they have in the first place over their actions. i dont see them living on the street as a function of a failed social system, the alternative for many is being institutionalized and alot fo them may have been at some point and would rather hack it out on the street.
 
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emiwee

TRIBE Member
I just recently finished my Master's thesis. It was on 'homelessness'. It's such a difficult term to define, and that's why statistics don't really tell you all that much. I conducted long interviews with 11 women on their experiences of living on the street, living in shelters, living in rooming houses. The one main thing that came out of it is that definitions of 'homelessness' that are used in health and government policy don't always reflect the realities of the lives of the people being categorized as so. It's more like 'housing-lessness'. Most of the people I spoke with said that it's hard living a life where you are so very mobile between physical living spaces, but at the same time laughed and reminisced about amazing experiences that they had had living "that" life.
 

newstyle666

TRIBE Member
I was homeless in Tokyo-city for a night. I flew in from Hong Kong and realized a wire transfer of cash from my Cdn account to my Japanese account was still processing. Long story, but I had enough Yen to get from Narita Airport to Shinjuku. Once in Shinjuku I was clean out of money. Went to my hotel, where I had already made a reservation, but they refused to admit me unless I paid in advance. It was then I realized I left my credit cards @ home [since this particular business trip was only a few weeks]. I then walked around [with heavy luggage] for about 6 hours to countless hotels. Everything was booked, or they refused to accept payment for the following day... even when offering my passport as collateral. I finally came up with an idea to go to 24h internet cafe, that also lets u pay after timed used.

I walked in booked a computer. I just let the tab run and run... slept hunched over the keyboard for a few hours.. finally the following afternoon around 4pm the transfer came through. Actually it was okay becuase a LOT of ppl in Tokyo dose off at the cafe's while reading comics or using the computers... so no one really cared. haha. The bill was about $55 ;)
 
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d.code

TRIBE Member
I was never actually homeless- but was well under the poverty line for a good 3 years. Maybe more? It was mostly the family situation that put me into it. Its a long story with laughs, sobs and passion. And fairly boring.

When I went to china and was on my way through shanghai- I was the largest homeless population ever. There were literally 1,000 people sleeping on each giant street corners infront of giant super BMW stores. Those images of all those people will stay with me forever. It seemed like the whole part of town was like this. I figured I must have seen at least 10,000 homeless people in the space of an hour.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I work with high risk youth including youth who live at homeless shelters and women who reside in shelters/havens hiding from their abusive husbands. There are a few that we work with but it would be inappropriate to say which ones, I guess.

A lot of people have this perception of what a homeless shelter looks like. When one hears the word "homeless," the image of a punk rocker squeegee kid with dirty hair comes up. And though that may be true for a small population of the homeless, people tend to be really ignorant towards what I call "the hidden homeless."

There needs to be more of those United Way ads and other campaigns pointing out that the person you think you know or the kid you go to school with could very well be living in his/her car or in a shelter.

I just think there are a lot of misconceptions out there that can be immediately resolved with some focused strategies.

I'm not one to share any personal stories but I can at least note that in the last few years, my eyes have been completely opened up about who homeless people are, what they go through and the adversity they face on a daily basis.

We work with one shelter in particular that is in the northwest end of Toronto. On a quiet suburban street, this mansion-like unmarked, unnumbered house marks a shelter for youth from 15 - 21.

I did a workshop for them in the summer and found that they were some of the most streetsmart people I have ever met. Each one had a story to tell and they represented all the colours of the rainbow.

Black guys. A Chinese girl. Latin girls. A Trini girl. Couple of really cynical white guys. A really wholesome looking computer nerd. It was incredible and saddening at the same time to be able to experience the interaction with such a unique group of youth.

If anyone ever gets to work with people in need, I highly suggest it even for the emotional rollercoaster ride. Just for a day to feel what they feel. To see what they see. It really is a give-and-take process. They learn from you, you learn from them.
 

shortbus

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Homelessness - stories of living on the street?

Originally posted by Jeffsus
Experts say a lot of things. I'll stop short of outright disagreeing with these stats, but the ones that particularly bend my neck are:



What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is an expert trying to tell me that in the GTA there are about a million people living in poverty? *scratches head*

there are two different kinds of poverty, there is comforts poverty and there is basic needs poverty.

comforts poverty means being unable to afford a car or television.
needs poverty means not even being able to afford food.
 

shortbus

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by MoFo
I work with high risk youth including youth who live at homeless shelters and women who reside in shelters/havens hiding from their abusive husbands. There are a few that we work with but it would be inappropriate to say which ones, I guess.

A lot of people have this perception of what a homeless shelter looks like. When one hears the word "homeless," the image of a punk rocker squeegee kid with dirty hair comes up. And though that may be true for a small population of the homeless, people tend to be really ignorant towards what I call "the hidden homeless."

There needs to be more of those United Way ads and other campaigns pointing out that the person you think you know or the kid you go to school with could very well be living in his/her car or in a shelter.

I just think there are a lot of misconceptions out there that can be immediately resolved with some focused strategies.

I'm not one to share any personal stories but I can at least note that in the last few years, my eyes have been completely opened up about who homeless people are, what they go through and the adversity they face on a daily basis.

We work with one shelter in particular that is in the northwest end of Toronto. On a quiet suburban street, this mansion-like unmarked, unnumbered house marks a shelter for youth from 15 - 21.

I did a workshop for them in the summer and found that they were some of the most streetsmart people I have ever met. Each one had a story to tell and they represented all the colours of the rainbow.

Black guys. A Chinese girl. Latin girls. A Trini girl. Couple of really cynical white guys. A really wholesome looking computer nerd. It was incredible and saddening at the same time to be able to experience the interaction with such a unique group of youth.

If anyone ever gets to work with people in need, I highly suggest it even for the emotional rollercoaster ride. Just for a day to feel what they feel. To see what they see. It really is a give-and-take process. They learn from you, you learn from them.
very well said

it is also alarming and VERY important to know that 1/4 of canadians suffer from mental health issues, that co-incides with 1/4 population in poverty.

in the 1960's all the way until the 1980's even, psychiatric wards were deemed cruel and horrible places.
the solution was to close the doors of all psychiatric hospitals and asylums and release their clientele into the public.
funding from the hospitals was SUPPOSED to be infused into communities and support networks were to be created to assist individuals in empowered daily living.

this never happened.

as we can see by the obscene amounts of homeless persons on the street.

one thing i GREATLY STRESS:

THE HOMELESS ARE NOT THERE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE. THEY ARE UNABLE TO FUNCTION IN SOCIETY AS WE ARE.

things as simple as remembering to take medication does not register, there ARE limitations.


so the next time you think a homeless person is on the street because they want to be there, consider the extreme debilitating limitations of mental health issues that are untreated and ignored.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I couch surfed for 1 year and a half once while at university, then crashed at various girlfriends places or another year so technically i was homeless for 2 1/2 years I guess.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I have a really wonderful story from where I work: St. Stephen's Community House.

In Kensington, SSCH runs a homeless and youth drop-in centre. Above the centre, a project exists that houses 13 homeless males. These men are chosen, mentored and treated daily. Everything from how to shave to how to buy groceries to how to apply for a job is covered.

There's a really great success story about a young African man who came to St. Stephen's without anything. He was a teacher in his home country but came here with nothing and nowhere to live.

St. Stephen's helped him get lifeskills training, get off the street, learn English, get appropriate counselling and fixed him up with a Job Developer.

He's a teacher now! Teaching English full-time! I heard he got to where he's at now in less than two years!
 

shortbus

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by alexd
I couch surfed for 1 year and a half once while at university, then crashed at various girlfriends places or another year so technically i was homeless for 2 1/2 years I guess.
thats not homelessness
thats freeloading
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I also think it's wonderful that we have our Annual General Meetings with all the big-wig board members and the Executive Director and the entire staff in the same meeting place as the homeless drop-in.

Last winter, we were interrupted by a bunch of rowdy homeless guys and ya know what happened? They were invited to sit with us to eat. They just sat with us and listened to the Power Point boring-ass shit.

That was a great thing to see and it was the moment I KNEW I was working with the right organization. When a bunch of suits can coincide with the derilicte. :)

Without judgment, pity or hesitation.

Liane, our head honcho, was like "HEY BOB! Have a seat! This meeting might bore ya but help yourself to some coffee and bbq chicken!"

Very fucking cool.
 

mingster

TRIBE Member
i've known and been in the lives of a few people who were homeless at the time. some had drug addictions, some had mental illness, some had both. most had both.

the discussion on homelessness is really not black and white. you can't look at stats and expect them to give you the whole story. people come into transition in their lives. and there are many people out there who are without permanent address. and a great many of them do not fit into a statistical category, and even when they do...there's so much more to their lives and situations.

sometimes, homelessness is just an avoidable part of some people's lives. it happens.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Jeffsus


Why do we (canadians/westerners) assume that its so important to have a house/apartment?

-jM
A&D
Do you mean in a broader sense where Western societies are less likely to accept and implement communes and such?
Weren't there a lot of communes in the 50's and 60's? A la Forrest Gump?

Owning property = power. Always has.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
When I just down the street from The Brunswick House in the Annex many years ago there was this homeless lady who used to sit outside a couple of building down from me.

We got to talking and I aked her why she was homeless and she replied: "I am NOT homeless! I live in the outdoors."
 

innocentboy

TRIBE Member
damn, MoFo been doing all this the whole time i've been seeing you online? shit. crazy.

have volunteered a couple of times (and hopefully more in some form or another) at this place called sketch working with homeless youth - www.sketch.ca

definitely something i support large.

some more random statistics:

Toronto's growth increases by 30, 000 households annually but low priced rental units continue to decrease and averate rents have increased. The average income in Toornot increased by 9% between 1995-2000, while average rents rose by 29%
-- Anne Golden et al. Taking Responsibility for Homelessness: An Action Plan for Toronto. A Report of the Mayor's Homelessness Action Task FOrce (City of Toronot, 1999), p.v.


-------------------------------------------------------------------

for more click here:
http://www.toronto.ca/homelessness/2000/current.htm

and yes i know, most of you don't give a shit about any problems unless it's in your own backyard and won't bother with the click, but there it is for those of you interested
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by innocentboy
damn, MoFo been doing all this the whole time i've been seeing you online? shit. crazy.

have volunteered a couple of times (and hopefully more in some form or another) at this place called sketch working with homeless youth - www.sketch.ca

definitely something i support large.

some more random statistics:


-- Anne Golden et al. Taking Responsibility for Homelessness: An Action Plan for Toronto. A Report of the Mayor's Homelessness Action Task FOrce (City of Toronot, 1999), p.v.


-------------------------------------------------------------------

for more click here:
http://www.toronto.ca/homelessness/2000/current.htm

and yes i know, most of you don't give a shit about any problems unless it's in your own backyard and won't bother with the click, but there it is for those of you interested
unfortunately so many social services dealing specificaly with the homeless and most at-risk persons are funded by the municipalities. property taxes are the only tax a city can levy that goes all to them. everyone knowns toronto gives quite a bit more than it gets back in tax $$ collected to the provincian and federal governments.

so the erecting of pricey condo's and properties may seen unfair to people who cant afford it, but those taxes help support the social service base in the city which is already underfunded.

building low income units means not only is hte revenue from that land lost for a property taxable unit, but you likley will have someone taking possesion already on some sort of social service and there is little if any data to show that people who reside in goverment mandated low cost housing rise above and beyond to unassisted housing.

youre basically going back to bulding ontario housing complexes like back in the 70's, and we have all seen how poorly those turned out, and only seemed to concentrate poverty and do little to move people out of these situations. all while more and more people were still living out on the street.
 
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