Shelter closure should draw attention to homeless
Up to 80 people may be affected by the closure of Ray of Hope’s Kitchener site, a homeless shelter that usually operates from November to April, offering overnight housing and weekly meals. Sites like this are necessary in addressing the symptoms of homelessness but are not a long-term solution to a serious problem that will not simply go away.
Perhaps we should be concerned not only with the closure but also the fact that there is still high demand for such a shelter and that homelessness exists in the area. People seeking shelter has increased in recent years and the reasons behind the trend need to be addressed. In the mean time, closing shelters will only intensify the problem.
Particularly as families require assistance and long-term shelter more permanent and reliable options have to be available. The increase in demand for shelter has been most drastic among families rather than the typical single men that society typically imagines. The closure and the problem of homelessness itself require attention in the October 2014 election.
According to a report out of Waterloo Region and cited rose from 105 in 2008 to 420 in 2012, resulting in a 300 per cent increase. As per the same report, which reflects a much more systematic problem, the minimum wage of was over two dollars below what would be required to afford a bachelor apartment .
As communities are doing the most for the Region’s homeless, elected officials should lobby the government for increased funds, raise further awareness within communities, and remember they represent all their constituents, including the homeless.
-The Cord Editorial Board