The Antidote

Do you ever just wonder what it would take to make that feeling go away? You know, the shameful feeling when you pass a person on the street, warming on the grate or baking in the sun (pick your season) with a cup or a hand out for change?

Maybe you pass some change. You know it isn’t really going to make a meaningful difference. And you have the sense it won't get to the root of the problem. I wonder. I wonder, how much it would cost to house everyone - to end homelessness. Does anyone wonder this anymore?

Do you ever wonder just how much dignity costs? Do you ever wonder what happened to our humanity?

The news was horrible today. The people of Aleppo have been left abandoned by the world to die. We did not stop it – we did not even fill our safe streets calling for peace. At the same time, we heard the news another name being added to the Toronto homeless memorial. Toronto street nurse Cathy Crowe (Distinguished Visiting Faculty at Ryerson) and dedicated housing and social activist is calling and will continue to call, among other things, for the opening of the Armoury and for a national housing strategy.

Just where is our humanity? Surely, the antidote to the meltdown of humanity in Aleppo is for us to find our resolve to make a difference and to find dignity and humanity for those people in our society at the margins – people living on the streets, in prisons, in the wards of our psychiatric hospitals and the so-called “problem” children.

But in the City of Toronto where there is so much wealth, the number of people on the Toronto Homeless Memorial is over 800 and where we join the world in mourning over what is happening in Aleppo, can we not find our own humanity for our citizens? Can we not start by opening the Armoury now and just do what it takes to end homelessness, whatever the cost?

Can we start saving the lives of the people on our streets and provide them with the dignity they deserve?

Sign a petition, call the Mayor, march on the streets.