The Homeless Must Walk For Help



Frequent Bulldog contributor The Voter sent this very wise message along that deserves big play.

I get the impression from the comments of these politicians (you can read their words here) that they don’t want the Sally Ann in their jurisdictions. It’s the feeling I get from local businesses and from the mayor’s words to local business people recently in a speech.

Moving the homeless is easy but this doesn’t solve or deal with the problem. It is important to have facilities for the homeless grouped in one area … particularly near the Sandy Hill Community Health Clinic. The homeless walk. One of the worst things that can happen to them is that someone steals their shoes.

Moving the problem makes it more difficult to deal with the homeless and, indeed, makes it more difficult for the homeless. It is very sad. Politicians should be looking for solutions (not easy) rather than moving the problem.

If that is not the case, The Bulldog would be happy to publish their responses.

Here’s The Voter:

Let’s start with “efficient and affordable access to public transportation will ensure the clients have the greatest number of options …” from the Fleury/Des Rosiers/Fortier statement.

It seems these folks missed the part where the Sally Ann said. They’ve surveyed their clients and most of them live within a half hour’s walk from the new location. In addition, the new place is served by the No. 12 bus route that goes right down Montreal Road and Rideau to Bank streets, connecting with dozens of other buses and, eventually, the LRT. The same bus passes a few blocks from the current George Street location.

This is a very odd comment for politicians from all three levels of government to make. If clients don’t have “efficient and affordable” public transit, is that the fault of the Salvation Army or the three governments whose mandate it is to provide transit services? For people with little or no income, it matters not where or when the buses run or what they cost unless it’s almost nothing. Most of them get around on their two feet.

When you live in a shelter, your total income to cover non-shelter-related costs is a Personal Needs Allowance of $143 per month. Even OC Transpo’s new EquiPass for low income people is out of reach at $57 since it would leave less than $3/day for all other needs. Some of the Sally Ann’s clientele are sleeping rough or crashing where they can so don’t even have access to the PNA funds.

These three governments are the same folks that are responsible for funding and overseeing the operation of services to the homeless and those with inadequate housing. If they had been fulfilling that mandate properly for the last few decades, would we even need a shelter for the homeless?

The whole tone of the two statements is very negative towards the Sally Ann and particularly towards its clientele. I don’t for an instant think that every client of the Sally Ann’s George Street facility is an angel but then neither are a lot of people who live in much posher digs. Those other folks can afford to hide their peccadilloes – there’s not much difference between three glasses of expensive Scotch of an evening and a mickey drunk out of a paper bag other than the surroundings. Ditto shooting up in an alley versus lines of cocaine divvied up with a platinum Amex card.

It’s not a very good start to the discussions and consultations you say are missing in the process to come out of the gate with comments about how this is a bad plan since you’ve just cleared the crime out of Vanier among other derogatory remarks.

I don’t agree with everything the Salvation Army does or says but I try to keep my criticism constructive. Let’s hear about what the three of you and/or the governments you are part of are going to do to support the Sally Ann to improve its services and provide a safe and welcoming environment for guys that have fallen on hard times. Remember that there but for the grace of God go you and I. And, while you’re remembering that, thank God for the Salvation Army and what they do for our fellow man. You are your neighbour’s keeper.


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4 thoughts on “The Homeless Must Walk For Help

  1. Dear Voter,

    Very well said.

    In an earlier comment I said that the Salvation Army wouldn’t need to build shelters if the various levels of government were doing their job. I said that the Salvation Army knew what was needed. I said to let them build. And, while we are at it – social assistance payments are totally inadequate.

    Are the people mentioned uncaring? Are they stupid? Are they mean? Perhaps, if a close friend or a relative found themselves without a home or a job the pols might wake up.

    Some people can walk around ignoring other people as long as the people that are being ignored don’t seem to quite fit .” Are there not prisons?” ” And the workhouses, are they still in operation?”

    I have never understood how people can lack empathy but I observe that a great many do lack any semblance of it. They sometimes truly believe that the disadvantaged got themselves there because they lack drive or willpower and are of low character. I say to those people some words that Ken won’t print.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that people needing help aren’t all angels. Perhaps some people want to help only the angels and forget about the humans.

    Or, perhaps they are indeed just stupid, mean and uncaring after all.

    As long as society is unwilling to come together and look after its most vulnerable then for humanity’s sake, at least, let the Salvation Army carry on unobstructed.

    You do not need to be one pay cheque away from living without a home to have empathy and to help. So to Mr. and Ms. Politician – get out of the way and shut your gobs.

    1. P.S.
      Everyone can help out a bit all on their own.
      Don’t be judgmental of people that need help. You don’t need to take a vow of poverty – – help when you can.
      every time you shop put something in the food bank collection box.
      Don’t judge where a person who asks for some loose change will spend it. Slip them some. Back in the ’60s I carried ones which became twos then fives. When the price of bread went to $3 a loaf, I started to carry tens.
      Help out at a community kitchen.
      Organize a neighbourhood food drive.
      Drop the refund from your returned liquor and beer bottles in the counter-top charity dome/can as you checkout.
      One might be surprised at oneself if one does something every day; something between the time you leave your house and the time you get back home; something that makes you feel good about yourself; something – just some little something.

  2. To: The Voter
    ‘Fallen on hard times’, ‘there but for the grace of God go you and I’ — while I do not know the background of the politicians in question, they always come across as never having missed a meal.
    No doubt that the Salvation Army is best suited to know and provide the needs of the homeless.


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