Homeless


What has been done to decrease the problem? One of the largest growing concerns in Toronto is the constantly increasing number of citizens who are finding themselves living on the streets. With the decrease in the number of available jobs, the population of homeless people has literally boomed. My questions are not as simple to answer as they may appear. Why is a large portion of our community forced to live on the streets? What has be done to decrease the problem? These are the questions I will confront in my essay. With the economical wealth attributed to the name “Canada”, one would have to wonder why there is a homeless situation at all. This problem is especially evident in Canada’s wealthiest city, Toronto. When it comes to the affairs of the people, it is the government who should intervene. When I look at what the government has done with regard to the homeless problem, I have to doubt that everything is being done to eradicate it. The United Nations implemented a universal declaration of human rights. Article 25 Section 1 of this declaration states: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and to the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. This is a step in the right direction. However, this is not enough. These rights are subject to the discretion of the government of the country who decides to obey these universal rights. How much is “adequate”? The government, both at the federal and municipal levels, is currently working on new spending cuts. These cuts also include spending on welfare, unemployment and social services that are geared towards helping the homeless. Spending cuts can be seen as a necessity to maintain the country economically, but the reason for having a government in the first place is to take care of the people. How can this be done when money is being taken away from those services that are necessary to uphold this obligation? Simply put, it cannot. Those obligations are served by nonprofit organizations who depend on government grants to maintain a standard of care for those who need the services. The blame cannot be placed only on the government. Such a system of assistance depends on its beneficiaries to be honest and have some integrity. Many recipients of these services attempt to “cheat the system”. With no will to search for work many of these recipients remain at home and reap the benefits of their weekly cheques. This causes the government to create other services to control the amounts of money being distributed to those people. This process is costly and would be unnecessary if all of the recipients decided to take an honest approach to this service. What can the government do to decrease the homeless population? Although there is no quick and easy answer to solve this difficult problem, Toronto has the means to attempt economical ways to research and come up with ideas to solve it. Here in Ontario we have many excellent universities and colleges with equally excellent students who are taking courses in the political sciences. If the government were to cooperate with these universities and colleges and have them work in conjunction with the current research groups, then the answer to decrease the homeless population would be effectively answered. The government would encounter little expense and at the same time give the students a chance to implement what they are learning into real life situations. Everyone benefits from this idea and there are no losers. In conclusion I think that our homeless problem could eventually be rooted out entirely if everyone were to take part in the care of their fellow neighbour. If we were to stop being self-centered and start thinking about the other person who has less than us, I am sure that we would benefit from it. It isn’t all that hard. A few advertisements on the television and radio, a little push from our society’s leaders and we would be off on