We need homes to solve homelessness

Re : Homelessness issue headed to referendum

Three of  the groups determined to be in need of “homeless persons” services, and the reason for the proposed referendum, are youth 15 and up, seniors, and women fleeing abuse.

How about a referendum targeted to actually resolving the shortage of independent housing options?

One that looks at rezoning, innovation and funding to build and integrate affordable tiny houses.  Tiny houses as in the Tiny House Movement currently sweeping North America.

Tiny as in not more than 200 square feet of adequate, manageable living space which would restore people’s dignity as well as a general sense of well-being within the community.

Mayors are obligated to check and balance the situation by setting aside Statute Legislation or Commercial Law, in favour of voicing and thereby reinstating the principles of Common Law.

I had the opportunity to do a field study when a senior who had been without basic shelter for over 10 years was on my path.

After a few years of observation it was obvious he was being exploited. The homeless person was constantly hauled off to jail or the hospital because he was cold and miserable, confused and frustrated, fed up and angry, or intoxicated and all of the above.

To solve the problem of his unacceptable suffering, I considered his options and his coping abilities.  I then rallied his community members who cared, including an investment property owner and together we built him a 100 square foot A-Frame, complete with heat, light and an outhouse.

It was better than nothing. It was an attractive, movable, temporary structure that blended in with the neighbourhood. It was safe, secure and it was lawful.

On behalf of this individual, Common Law trumped Statute Legislation. Although the private retreat was illegal as per commercial or housing industry regulations, the community at large agreed it was a great solution because it was effective.

NIMBY did not come into play.  No one complained and the service professionals were grateful.

A paramedic told me after the senior died at the age of 72 that during the 18 months he had the custom-built shelter, they did not have to take him to jail or the hospital once.

Prior to those 18 months, he was picked up an average of two or three times each week, processed accordingly, and dropped off back on the street.

Homelessness became a by-product of the housing industry when the feds gave the housing responsibility to the provinces in the mid-90. “Homeless Persons” are now a commodity.

We don’t need homeless services, we have sufficient services, we need homes.

Tracy Ann Smith

 

Black Creek

 

 

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