In Sept 2014, during an interview about the failed 48-unit low-income housing project, Donna Harpauer, Social Services Minister, made headlines in Regina for her comment to CBC: “you’re assuming that there’s these desperate homeless people.”

It’s pretty easy to say that from an upper level management job that probably pays more per month than low-income people make in 6 months. From someone who probably owns a $400,000+ house and has savings sufficient to cover not having work for a year.

I’m sorry, but anyone who is homeless is desperate. Period.

It’s okay to be homeless…as long as you’re not desperate.

In early November 2014, a 90-year old World War II veteran and civil rights activist, Arnold Abbott, was arrested, a second time, for violating a new city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Abbott has been serving the homeless for several decades. He and his wife first began feeding the homeless on their own in 1979. He started a non-profit group—Love Thy Neighbor Inc. He started feeding people full time in 1991 after his wife died, as a tribute to her memory.

Abbott faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. For feeding homeless people in public.

arnold_abbot

It’s okay to be homeless…as long as you don’t get fed in public.  (Feed the pigeons or geese but not the humans.)

A little less recent but still relevant. My husband was in St. Augustine in 2010. At the time, the city was discussing moving all the homeless shelters outside of the city.

The debate started many years earlier. The City of St. Augustine had been looking for a way to move the homeless from its downtown areas since at least 2007.

A Google search found that a lot of the shelters are outside of the city center by 2 miles or more. People are bussed to the shelters.

It’s okay to be homeless…as long as you’re not visible to the public.

Anyone can become homeless. Many families (even middle income ones) are one paycheque away from losing their homes. What kind of society are we becoming when we won’t take care of our homeless people? I’m fairly sure none of them grew up aiming to be homeless and setting that as their goal!

Society, like unions, needs to start taking care of everyone. Social policies ARE there for everyone to benefit from. Not just some.

It’s okay to be homeless…just don’t advertise it!

References:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/minister-apologizes-for-desperate-homeless-people-remark-1.2763389

http://news.yahoo.com/chef-90-faces-jail-fines-feeding-homeless-121414540.html;_ylt=AwrSbjTo6oFU1LAAWa_rFAx.;_ylu=X3oDMTBzcnZmYjNuBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTAEY29sbwNncTEEdnRpZAM-

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/arnold-abbott-florida-advocate-defies-law-against-feeding-the-homeless-1.2825917

http://gargoyle.flagler.edu/2007/09/homeless-debate-in-st-augustine-continues/

http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Saint%20Augustine&state=FL

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