It was a chance meeting on a Monday in 1985 that would alter my life path for good. The meeting was with a young man with curly blond hair who, in many ways, looked very much like one of my own teenage sons. I was working at Fleming College at the time, coordinating a government program to help youth who had left high school and lacked job experience.
The sound of children’s voices during the holidays typically conjures feelings of warmth and sentimentality – unless, of course, those voices are in a homeless shelter.
It’s a jarring mental image but one that A Place Called Home in Lindsay is being forced to contemplate.
Canada is in the grip of an affordable housing crisis. Large municipalities like Toronto are especially hard hit with primary vacancy rates as low as 1.1%. The average cost of a one bedroom apartment has nearly doubled from $1,400 a month in 2009 to $2,400 in 2019. Many working class Torontonians are paying 60% or more of their incomes on rent — and homelessness is becoming more common as a result.
Low income people like me are even more adversely affected by the affordable housing crisis than working class people are.
Over the past three years, Trent University and the municipality of Kawartha Lakes have partnered to create an Intensive Case Management Evaluation Report for Kawartha Lakes. Intensive Case Management (ICM) is an approach to supporting clients with complex needs in terms of housing and mental health. The Evaluation Report found that the ICM program results in better quality of life for clients, more sustainable service delivery and increased satisfaction in housing.
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness has announced that the City of Kawartha Lakes and the County of Haliburton have marked a 51 per cent reduction in chronic homelessness since August 2018. Currently, Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton are one of the two communities “in the last mile”
and are being recognized at the ‘Built for Zero’ press conference in Toronto for showing that they are projected to reach “functional zero” on chronic homelessness within the next 12 months or less.
“Functional zero” means that the City and County will have three or less people experiencing chronic homelessness
over three consecutive months. Chronic homelessness is when an individual has been experiencing homelessness for six months within the last year.
Seventy-six years ago, an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow emphasized the process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve one’s potential.
He called this process a ‘hierarchy of needs’ and, in a testament to common sense, said nothing was more important than basic physical requirements like food, water, sleep, and warmth, as well as safety and security.
Typically, most of us find these things in the security of our income and in the security of own home. When we can’t manage to secure these most basic of needs, though, we’re certainly not going to be able to grow any further as individuals, let alone make a contribution to society. In fact, we will become part of the pressure on our society’s health care system, on our social services, and on our policing and judicial systems.
Provincial legislation has established the City responsible for the administration of housing and homelessness programs and services for both the City of Kawartha Lakes and the County of Haliburton. In this capacity, the City is called the Service Manager. The province requires Service Managers to develop a 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan (“the Plan”). The Plan establishes priorities for housing and homelessness services based on targeted consultations and research.
The annual Kawartha Lakes Cycling Classic returns Aug. 25 to Lindsay, as riders from across the region ride for A Place Called Home (APCH).
This year’s event promises to be bigger than ever. With courses of varying intensities, (13, 25, 50, 100, and 160 kilometres) the event offers both veteran and novice, casual and competitive cyclists a chance to ride for a great cause in the local community.
The City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County Council made a commitment as part of the 20,000 Homes Campaign to house 24 of the most vulnerable homeless in our area by July 1, 2018.
To date, 52 individuals (of the 136 individuals identified as homeless) have been housed in the community and are no longer experiencing homelessness.
I live a good life and I try not to take it for granted. Because I have a certain income, I can choose what to buy and where to shop. I can generate options and choose what is best for my family and me. I am fascinated about what makes up a good life and the following passage got me thinking about the link between choice and income: