Steps to community integration


Hunger is just one side of a very complicated set of problems. Housing, income, employment, food and more are all part of what is called the social determinants of health.

A recent video highlights some new thinking in the region on helping people get off the streets and into housing.  As  our executive director John Neufeld sums up:

“Homelessness is a complex issue that impacts individuals and our community on many levels.  There are no simple solutions but that doesn’t mean we’re unable to create effective change.  The STEP Home video shows how meaningful change can happen when progressive Regional Government, community agencies, and the broader community collaborate to address an issue.  This video reminds people that there are no simple cookie-cutter methods but we can do the work creatively, make a difference, and save money in the broader system.”

We have seen first hand the level of commitment the workers at the various community agencies show.  The House of Friendship’s own Brandon, who speaks in the video, often brings people in to receive a hamper, working closely with them and ensuring that they get whatever support they need.

York University academic Dennis Raphael highlights the role that housing, food and income play in supporting health.  He will be in town April 27 to give a talk organized by the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre.  I’ve spoken of him previously (here). I encourage you to have a look at his The Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts (a free .pdf download here) which is an excellent introduction to fact that poverty means more than an empty wallet and fewer options: it cuts years off your life and can burden you with many chronic ailments like diabetes.

More details of his talk can be found by clicking here for a .pdf flyer or by calling Gebre at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre.  His number is (519) 745-4404.

May this video and the upcoming talk spark conversations and awareness, and remind us of our own humanity and call to celebrate and care for each other.

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