That Feeling

You ever get that feeling when you’re walking past a person experiencing homelessness to make sure that you’re at a safe distance from them because of course, HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE VIOLENT! Wrong… It has actually been proven that those experiencing homelessness have more hate crimes towards them. Hate crimes are considered a criminal offence which is hate targeted towards a specific group of individuals. These groups may revolve around race, colour, sex, mental disability, and nationality (Dauvergne et al, 2006).

There have been reports of those experiencing homelessness being beaten, burnt, and overall mocked for doing their daily activities (Tutton, 2015). A good percentage of those experiencing homelessness are part of the marginalized community, specifically, in Canada, they are part of the Indigenous community.

Just the other day a security guard was suspended when a video went viral of him throwing his shoes at a man experiencing homelessness in Toronto, ON (Ross, 2017). I find it amazing that the hate crimes towards those experiencing homelessness are going viral due to the use of social media, but I also find it quite saddening that they are happening anyways. Currently, the issue is under investigation but from viewing the video there is not just reason for the security guards actions. In addition, I also find it alarming that no one decided to intervene and stop the altercation. We have become so immune to seeing this on the street that the homeless are basically invisible to us

Homeless shoe throwing
An image caught from the video sent in of a GardaWorld security guard throwing a shoe at a man experiencing homeless (Ross, 2017). 

These type of hate crimes happen towards those experiencing homelessness daily and do not go reported. It is our job as a group to make sure that people are educated about certain communities, and that these hate crimes do not occur. Public awareness is key and this video helps to show that.

To see the entire video: Security guard suspended after video shows him throwing shoes at a homeless man

Sources:

Dauvergne, M., Scrim, K., & Brennan, S. (2008). Hate crime in Canada, 2006. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Ross, G. (2017). Security guard suspended after video shows him throwing shoes at a homeless man. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/homeless-man-security-guard-shoes-1.4131880

Tutton, M. (2015). From burnings to beatings, homeless people face violence on the streets. CTV News. Retrieved from http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/from-burnings-to-beatings-homeless-people-face-violence-on-the-streets-1.2345340

Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey

Without a Home was the first pan-Canadian national youth homelessness survey conducted by Gaetz et al (2016).  The report focused on how intervening early on to stop youth from experiencing homelessness makes the outcomes less severe. They outlined how there is a need for prevention-focused approaches and Housing First for Youth (H4FY). Prevention-focused approaches focus on getting youth to reconnect with their family members and early intervention through school and communities. Housing First for Youth includes getting youth experiencing homelessness into a household whether that be at home, transitional housing or independent living.

20% of the homeless population includes youth from the ages of 13-24, and many of them are not helped until roughly age 16-18. Many of the young youth who experience homelessness are unable to get any support till later. In addition, prior to youth becoming fully “homeless”, they were suffering from housing instability. These youth are typically LGBTQ2S and they live in a household of conflict and abuse. It is taking too long to help those who are really young experiencing homelessness, society must be taught about youth homelessness in Canada in order to fully combat it. There are no effective strategies in place to fix the issue, therefore some need to be found. Obviously, as a social group people will look at youth experieincing homelessness as “hipsters”, people who want to go against the social norms. This view was only brought about due to the “hobo” and “hippie” movements which occurred in the earlier years, and have now shifted to “hipster”.

A key concept in this study was that it showed that youth are not rebellious when they end up homeless; they are rather looking for a safe haven. In addition, it shows that relationships can be fixed and sometimes it requires external help. If the connections that a youth once had can be restored, or a new one can be made then it helps to keep young youth off the street.

Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey Report

Also, take a look at their webinar below

Sources:

Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S., & Schwan, K. (2016). Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Retrieved from http://homelesshub.ca/YouthWithoutHome

Ryerson RYEPride: Spread Queer Youth Love

RyePride is a Queer & Trans student group at Ryerson University that challenges homophobia & transphobia, while also hosting great events & campaigns. Today was their annual RYEPride flag raising at the Quad located at Ryerson. This being the month of pride many organizations and groups are setting out to promote gender equality within the Canadian society.

Images from the RYEPride flag raising in the Ryerson Kerr Hall Quad on June 1st, 2017 (D’Addese, 2017)

Many youth within Canada end up homeless because they are a part of the queer community. A household is a place that provides safety and shelter in order to protect you from the work, however for some youth who come out as LGBTQQIP2SAA they are in households that question this. 25 – 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, and there are many reasons which cause them to leave their households such as family conflict and abuse (Abramovich, 2013). Gender is a topic that has become highly questionable over the last 50 years, considering it to have no fluidity. What someone chooses to identify as is all based on their own thinking. There are many youth who are unable to be who they truly are due to the pressures of society. In order to combat queer youth experiencing homelessness then there need to be services that create safe spaces in shelters, households, and overall in the general public.

 

Many youth that are experiencing homelessness have lost many if not most of the social ties with their family, friends, communities, and school (Daniel & Cukler, 2015). Therefore this leaves them having to form “street families” in order to still have the feeling of those connections. The flag that stays soaring high in the Ryerson University Quad is a reminder to youth who are facing hate towards them for being who they are is powerful. It helps to promote a safe community and shows that there are people who support and accept them apart from who they want to be.

For more information about Ryerson’s Positive Space events see:

http://www.ryerson.ca/equity/events-workshops/positive-space-events/pride-at-ryerson/

Sources:

Abramovich, A. I. (2013). No Fixed Address: Young, Queer, and Restless. In Youth Homelessness in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice. Retrieved from http://homelesshub.ca/youthhomelessness

D’Addese, A. (2017). RYEPride Flag Raising [Photograph]. RyePride June 1 Flag Raising, Toronto.

Daniel, L., & Cukler, W. (2015). The 360 project : addressing racism in Toronto. Toronto, ON: Diversity Institute, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University.

 

What if I became HOMELESS?

My friend and I were boarding the train today and we came across a familiar woman that we see on the Yonge-Bloor line who typically stands by the escalators panhandling. I am downtown so often that I know her daily routine as to where she will be standing and what station she will be at. My friend started to talk about how old she was and how it was unacceptable for such an older woman (probably old enough to be my grandmother) to be begging for money, and how there are so many resources to her disposal. I started to inform my friend about how these resources are not always accessible or the right type. Also, I told her that there are actually SO MANY homeless Torontonians; it’s just that we don’t seem to acknowledge them. We have become normalized to seeing someone on the street and not considering them as homeless. So then I began to wonder… What if I became homeless? If I hadn’t taken a course all about homelessness and gained all of this extra knowledge would I have known what to do, would I know where to go, would I know how to survive? Thankfully, I have such a great support system that I truly believe my greatest extremity of homelessness would be couch-surfing. And, if I did not have my support system I begin to wonder would I rather want to try and get into emergency shelters or live on the streets?  What if I went bankrupt and had no job, would I panhandle? Would I steal? Would I become a sex worker? What would I do? And these are all questions that the majority of housed people would not think about until they lose their housing. So when you look at it, when a person experiencing homelessness is put into this situation they never really thought about it, so they have to find these resources and services all while trying to stay alive. It is not something you can really prepare for but truly has to have the strength in order to deal with.