This is one particular story I tend to follow every year because I use it as a metric with regard to the state of the nation, humanity, and political will in a society which has continued to see the growth in disparity between the rich and the poor. Toronto is in the news today.
Most homeless people in my opinion are homeless because of addiction, abuse, and mental health issues. They are often stubborn people who have refused help when requested to abide by certain simple civil rules in order to secure their welfare. Where their right to liberty is respected, they can find themselves on the street. Some of these folk lack the capacity to make rational decisions for themselves in a month like July when faced with the prospect of cold snap in January. Hence; we the taxpayer in good conscience humbly step forward because rightfully we disdain the discovery of a frozen lifeless body in the wee hours of a minus thirty morning.
On the one hand we do not want to normalize homelessness by systematically adding and tracking resources because this process in and of itself expresses the frailty of the human condition. On the other hand, if we do not facilitate a structure of care then we risk failure in tending to our most vulnerable thereby blighting our reputation as compassionate souls. It is this duel that keeps us ambivalent with the issue buried beneath other supposed topics of priority.
I, for one, am lucky enough to sit tonight behind a computer in a warm home articulating a problem that we face as a country with sound mind free of addiction and I’m blessed. I’m fully cognizant that it could be me scuttled on a mat in a putrid dank corridor of a public building fearful of the loss of one sentimental keepsake. In 1982 our country adopted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In spite of the strengths enshrined by this Charter, could this one issue be well served by a possible amendment? Could there be others? Could we redirect some wasted public money to this cause without one cent of increased tax? Could we penalize civil infractions more forcefully thereby directing proceeds to the cause? Could our tax system incentivize builders for the construction of affordable housing units?