What does it feel like not to have a home? Living out in the cold, starving, and not feeling safe. It is a problem where a number of people, including some children located in parts of our city, do not have basic needs. Every day they wake up in the cold, starving, and pleading for money and food. It’s a daily life of constantly searching for hope and having to survive on their own. As a society, what should we do to help combat homelessness?
One of the contributing factors to homelessness in Metro Vancouver is the high cost of real estate. Despite people in our city earning a modest income and the low unemployment rate, housing in the city is not attainable for many people. With the high cost of rent and other people working low income jobs, they are not able to afford the basic cost of shelter and as a result, they become homeless. Government intervention is definitely needed to help resolve the high cost of real estate in our city in order for the less fortunate to have a home.
Our government is working on a plan to combat homelessness. Things such as building more clean and safe temporary homes, raising the minimum wage, and adjusting the housing market or rent to be more affordable. Some examples include the government funding for emergency shelter spaces that provides temporary accommodation, but their main focus is getting the homeless population off the streets permanently. Every year the government funds approximately $231 million annually to help build affordable housing for those in need. However, is this really enough?
Finally, what could we do to help people who are homeless? A well-known organization is the Salvation Army. They have been doing work since 1882 and they operate in more than 400 communities across the country. The things they do include offering practical assistance for children and families, providing shelter for those in need, and providing rehabilitation for those who have no control over their life due to addiction to drugs and alcohol. You could help them by donating money or some of your used items, or by volunteering for special events and charity work.
Another organization is A Better Life Foundation. Founded in 2012 by Mark Brand, they raise funds and offer quality food to women, children, and those in assisted living. A Better Life Foundation tries to make a better society by focusing on better mental health support and addiction recovery.
Those are just some ways in helping, and every contribution counts. Let’s make a difference together around homelessness and make sure everyone can have a nice, warm, and cozy shelter to live in.