Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The World Cares About Homelessness

As with most major events of its kind, when Canada hosted the Olympics in Vancouver a few months ago, there was much skepticism about the benefits of the event to the city. The population was divided between those excited to be on the world stage, and those who felt strongly that resources would be better put towards dealing with the highest HIV rate in North America, a growing homeless population, and other social issues in the city.

While I for one really do like to believe that these events can offer a chance for a positive legacy in a city, I was appalled but not totally shocked when I read this article about the “affordable housing units” that are now up for rent in Vancouver. They were constructed as part of the Olympic Village development plan, and were promised to be turned into badly needed “social housing” for the city.

Please tell me how teachers, paramedics, police, and public sector workers are being discriminated against by landlords, or facing chronic rates of homelessness? Why on earth would these professionals be the target population for any “social housing” project? And can even they afford the $1600 rent (for only 640 sq. ft.)!!!!!!!

Canada has been "working on" a national housing strategy to end homelessness for 17 years now. Is this as far as we've come?

In related news, street children in South Africa are being forcibly moved to remote areas prior to the World Cup tournament.

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