I’d never really given the topic of this post any consideration, until, of course, I received this email.
Beth G. makes a point that none of us can really argue with: there’s a problem in Toronto that nobody wants to admit is there…
If I were mayor for the day, oh, the things I would change!
But there is one thing that stands out in my mind, more than anything else. It’s something that nobody talks about, in a city that cannot stop talking about SOMETHING.
Toronto, face it: we have a problem with the homeless. And the problem is not that they exist, but rather that we ignore them, and we simply wish they weren’t here.
And in the past two years, how many times have you heard our mayor talk about the homeless? Not once, from what I can tell.
As mayor of Toronto for one day, the first thing that I would do is create more homeless shelters and assistance programming for the homeless community. What would this assistance programming consist of you might ask? Well, I would create programming that is accessible to all of those in need, not programming that puts you on a wait list and make you sign document after document with important and personal information.
I would want to help people of all ages, races and walks of life to be able to head into these institutions and receive the most viable support and assistance. What I mean by this, is to receive help in finding housing, further education and help with employment; this means we must combine programming from all different areas of the social programming sector.
In one day, I would want to make more than just important changes in our community : I would want to create awareness. Making changes is great for that one day of being Mayor but by creating awareness, I would hope to sustain these changes from day to day and from year to year.
I would want the city of Toronto and its residents to be fully aware of why I decided to make these changes and to what degree. I want them to be part of these changes. Well, maybe not everyone, but I know I want the homeless community to be a huge, if not an extremely important part, of this process.
Since I would want to make changes to the homeless community, I would speak with numerous individuals in these communities and ask them what changes they want to see done in their community to assist them. Why not ask the people I hope to assist for their opinion? That’s something nobody else is doing. Show me one politician that’s out there pounding the pavement and talking to people in the trenches about why they got there in the first place.
I would hope that I, or somebody else, could work with Rob Ford in a way that allowed me to assist, support and give advice on all aspects of the homeless community such as supportive assistance and housing. Mr. Ford knows not, nor cares in the slightest, about this part of our community, so why not put someone who genuinely cares about these individuals well-being in charge?
You know what – I would be doing Mr. Ford a favor: by allowing him to focus on other parts of our society such as creating a more viable waterfront and a building a huge ferris wheel like the one in London, England. He’s all show, and no follow-through. He’s all talk, and no action. And he only knows how to focus on the glaring issues that are right in front of us (or non-issues, like the ‘need’ for a ferris wheel), and doesn’t know how, or doesn’t care to deal with issues that might be “hidden” or perhaps easy to overlook.
Let people who actually care about the homeless community care for this community. Mr. Ford, keep doing what you’re doing… caring for yourself.
I guess I fail to distinguish between “homeless” and “lazy and unmotivated.”
Hey – I’m just being completely honest here. Those guys begging for coins at the Gardiner off-ramp don’t seem very motivated to me. Offer them a full-time job at minimum wage, and I don’t think they’d take it.
But they represent a very small percentage of “homeless,” and they’re the ones we happen to notice the most.
Much of the homeless population in Toronto is comprised of mentally ill individuals who don’t have a hope in hell of making it on their own without any help.
I know that every cause in Toronto needs/deserves/requires our tax dollars, but when was the last time we heard anybody talk about spending more money on helping the homeless?