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.

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