Everyone Deserves a Home

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This week is third annual Homeless Awareness Week in Kitchener-Waterloo. Over the years this awareness campaign has been in action various events have been arranged by many volunteers in the community to bring awareness to the issues of homelessness.

To test your knowledge on homelessness and poverty issues, try this quiz.

Monday night I attended a symposium at the Faculty of Social Work. The theme for the evening was “everyone deserves a home”. To share this theme there were three individuals who have experienced homelessness in the past, Van Vilaysinh from the Region’s Social Planning Division, and Kelly Craigmile from the Safe Haven Shelter through Lutherwood. However you may have already read a bit about this symposium in The Record; but if not, click here.

At the end of the symposium each member on the panel essentially wanted to ensure that everyone remembered the same message: the people on the streets aren’t scary or dangerous, they’re simply human beings who are experiencing some difficult circumstances that lead them to no longer maintain safe, secure and affordable housing. These are people who deserve to be given attention and resources to overcome the various situations that brought them to the streets.

You can meet some of the people who coordinated the events this week, especially the founder (Charles Nicholas), and hear about the upcoming struggles for the homeless populations by watching this video.

One of the statistics mentioned by the Social Planning Council is that it is more expensive to continue to allow emergency services such as hospitals and shelters to accommodate the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Instead a more cost-effective solution is to create more housing options, such as Supportive Housing of Waterloo (SHOW). But these types of arrangements only come through with funding, which takes community members to speak up so the governments are aware that this is a necessary priority to make in our budget plans.

If you’re interested in becoming more aware about issues with homelessness or to show your support in advocating for change, there are still a few events going on this week. There is an art show tonight from seven to nine at the First United Church in Waterloo. (Click here for a map.) Also there is a photo gallery available during regular office hours at the Cambridge City Hall. (Click here for more details.) Finally you can also show your support by fundraising or attending the Sleepless Night event hosted by the Kitchener Downtown Community Center.

“Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now.” ~ Jonathan Martensson

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