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
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
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.
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 the right track. That worked for
the recycling program. Now we should try employing this idea for even better
I doubt that I will be around to see this idea in use all around the
world, but I do hope that I can one day see it used here in Toronto. To .