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Falling Off The Grid - Homeless People in Ontario

It may seem silly to some people that there are people who deliberately want to get "off the grid" so to speak, when homeless people "fall of the grid" accidentally when they get evicted, can't find a new place to live, can't afford a new place to live, and end up homeless on the street because there isn't enough affordable housing.

INTERESTING FACTS

#1. Toronto has approx. 50,000 homeless people - enough for a small city!

#2. 80% of Toronto's homeless population already have jobs (minimum wage type jobs). The problem is that the cost of rent is too high and despite having a job, they still cannot find an affordable place to live.

#3. Only 6% of homeless people have schizophrenia. So the stereotype that all homeless people are "crazy and lazy" is completely false. Most homeless people are actually hard working and perfectly sane, they just can't find a place that can afford while working a crappy minimum wage job.

It makes you realize we could problem solve a lot of our homelessness problems just by raising the minimum wage and making sure we are building affordable homes. See my other post "Solving Toronto's Homeless Problem".

What is weird is how for the 20% of homeless people who don't have a job, why do they stay in Toronto? Or any city for that matter? Why aren't they learning how to fish, how to hunt, how to garden, finding some piece of government owned land in northern Canada - and living off the land?

Well, it is because many of them still hold out hope that they will find a job (somehow) and find a place they can afford to live in. They simply haven't given up hope that they can somehow do those things.

Which to me means they should be coming up with more business savvy things to write on their cardboard placards when begging. Things like:

"I have a master's degree in engineering. Hire me!" and then begging outside the building of some kind of engineering company.

or

"I have a bachelor's degree in marketing. Hire me!" and sit outside an advertising agency.

Eventually someone walking by will see their placard and think "Hey, why shouldn't I hire that guy?"

Well you might think "Oh, he might have a drug addiction or be an alcoholic." True, but there are also lots of alcoholics and drug addicts that manage to hold down a job anyway, regardless. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for example has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction dating back to the 1980s.

No, the sad fact is that most homeless people simply cannot afford a place to stay.

Check out the following quotes about homelessness and energy costs by Toronto charity worker Edward de Gale.

"Canada is the second coldest country on earth and with a climate like Canada’s, energy, like food and housing is a necessity of life." - Edward de Gale. 
"It is a little known fact that the inability to pay basic utilities/energy is the second leading economic cause of homelessness in this country." - Edward de Gale.
"Over 50,000 households a year have their power disconnected in Ontario while thousands of others struggle to provide the necessary energy to stay warm and cook meals. That’s one household with their power cut every 10 minutes, every hour, of every day, for a year." - Edward de Gale.
"Many Ontario households must choose between eating and heating, and seniors and those with special needs must choose between medication and heating." - Edward de Gale.
"Families, with minor children, unable to provide basic utilities/energy for their children are vulnerable to child protection orders because they are unable to provide the necessities of life." - Edward de Gale.

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