Where Will They Sleep?
by AlexeKantchev on February 22, 2017 - 9:22pm
Living in big cities sometimes mean people do not always notice social issues that are happening right in front of them. Or is it that they just do not want to see them? Looking at their phone to ignore a woman with a Styrofoam cup in their hand, rolling up the window of their car when a man propose to wash the windshield for a few cents, that is how people ignore homelessness. However, looking away will not solve this issue that touches so many men and women around the world. From Quebec to Australia to England, homelessness is an important matter that should be looked through in dept.
Montreal is often described as beautiful city, rich of history and culture. With its amazing outdoor shows during the day and the festive ambiance, this city outstands itself. However, things become a little different at night when 3,016 homeless people need to find a place to sleep (CBC). Indeed, with a consensus made in July 2015, the CBC news, collected data that showed that 44% of the homeless population was born in Montreal. These people are mostly found in Downtown Montreal or near this area. The research however established that there were 10 times less homeless people on the street than predicted (CBC). Even thought the data was collected about 2 years ago, the problem still remains and homeless people need to be helped.
Luckily, in Montreal a few organizations are in place to help people living in the streets to find shelter at least for the night. La Maison Benoît Labre, Refuge Des Jeunes De Montréal, Chez Doris, Welcome Hall Mission and Mission Old Brewery are 5 well rated shelters available in Montreal. The man in charge of this project, James McGregor, hopes his findings will have an impact and will push people to do something about this issue (CBC).
In other countries, such as Australia, people still ignore the problem. However, they do not look away; they push it. On February 8th, 2017, news.com.au announced that the government now forbids homeless people to “camp in or on any public place” (News.com.au). The government previously forbade people from sleeping on public property if they not have tents or any other kind of temporary shelter. Now, this new law even forbids people who do have this equipment, which means that homeless people are not permitted to sleep in Melbourne at all (News.com.au). This new law is very controversial and citizens have already began to protest against it. Another detail of this law angers the homeless people of Melbourne. With this new law, the police officers can now take away items they would leave in public places without any legal documents that authorize them to do so (News.com.au).
With all of these new rules, homeless people will be forced to go to less secure and accessible places. This means it will be harder for volunteers to reach this community and help them seek help (News.com.au). Even thought the Australian government tried to do something about homelessness, they do not solve the problem; they only push it away, literally.
Another big city that is also touched by a high increasing rate of homelessness is London, England. With more than 4000 people who have no place to sleep, London has seen its homeless population doubled since 2010 (RT). Some people even believe that only in London, there would be at least 8000 homeless people, which is twice as much as the collected data. Also called “rough sleepers” these people are mostly from the European Union and camp generally in “doorways, bus shelters, cars, sheds, tents and parks”. Some people blame the Conservative Government for this increase of homeless people since they do not spend money at the right place (RT).
Just like in Montreal, London also have high rated places homeless people can go to to find shelter: St- Mungo’s, Union Chapel, Whitechapel Mission, Ace of Club and Homeless Link. Furthermore, an interesting video was linked to the article, which showed a bit what homelessness is and how it can affect someone (RT).
This issue needs to be considered seriously because no real solutions are in place to help these people. Shelters and laws acts like a Band-Aid but the problem still remains. With an increasing rate all around the world, solutions need to be found to remedy to the situation.
CBC. “Montreal Homelessness Count Finds 3,016 Homeless People in City.” CBC News, 7 July 2015.
News.com.au. “Melbourne Council Bans Homeless from Sleeping in the CBD.” News.com.au, 8 Feb. 2017.
RT. “Rough Sleeper Numbers Soar across England for 6th Year Running.” RT, 25 Jan. 2017.