Sunday, May 1, 2011

Available resources in Sherbrooke

Here are some resources available in Sherbrooke who provide help for homeless people.

La Chaudronnée de L'Estrie is a nonprofit organization that provides a meal service to people living situations of poverty. It meets basic needs and plays a preventive role against health problems related to food. The Chaudronnée is also a meeting place for discussion which helps alleviate isolation, create links and relationships in mutual aid.

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L’Auberge du Cœur La Source-Soleil is an organization who provides shelter for people from 18 to 30 years of age. It helps people who have personnel difficulties which can’t be dealt with alone and or who are homeless.

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L’Accueil Poirier is refuge for men and women who are homeless. They provide 10 beds for man and 10 beds for women, they offer breakfast and supper. People have access to a locker and a storage room for their personal belongings. Interventions take place if desired by the person. There is a washer and dryer as well as reference for shelter, medical and or psychosocial reasons. All services provided are free of charge and confidential.      

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The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, provides shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction.
When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.

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Activity conducted in order to raise awareness in the population of the Eastern Townships

For three straight years 9 students of Sherbrooke University will leave the comfort of their home to participate in the 5 days for homelessness. This campaign consists of staying 5 days in the streets as a goal to gather funds and food to help homelessness in the Eastern Townships. This event was from March 13th to the 19th. During the 5 days, the population is invited to participate if they desire. There are also many activities to gather funds that are organized throughout these five days. The rules for the participants in the 5 days for homelessness are:
1: to live outside for 5 days.
2: to revenue is attributes to them, 100% of the money and food received will go towards the cause.
3: to have no access to food supplies.
4: to have only one pillow and a sleeping bag
5: to have no access to showers or any other facilities students have rights to
6: Sleep outside
7: must assist all their regular classes during these five days
8: restrained from all personnel communication i.e. cell phone, e-mail, etc
9: to write about their experience

Great idea from these students. It is a nice gesture to show that some people do care. I would be curious to know if there are many people who participate during this campaign. It would certainly be something to look into and perhaps to participate in also. 

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homelessness: Social Isolation

Homeless people unfortunately live in isolation and often have to rely on resources like kitchen soups to find any form of support. According to the Health Street report (2007), 37 % of homeless people claim to have no exterior support at all in case of emotional crisis. Also, 34% said they never or rarely have someone to listen when they need to talk. The Health Street report also reported that 38% constantly feel lonely and remote from others.

When hearing stats like that, it helps to make people acknowledge that homelessness is not a choice.

3 types of Homelessness

1) Situational or transitional: This is when someone is forced into homelessness because of uncontrollable circumstances such as loosing a job, important material lost, lost of main breadwinner(father, husband, wife) etc.

2) Episodic or cyclical: This is when a person repeatedly falls in and out of homelessness. This often happens with drug addicts and with people experiencing mental health issues. The person might live episodes of severe depression cyclical way and fall back in homelessness when these occur. Same for someone with drug abuse issues. The person may be able to stop consuming for certain periods of time and get off the street, while being at high risk of homelessness all the time.

3) Chronic: This is when an individual is in the street for a long period of time and very few or no resources are at their disposition to modify their situation. Often, these people will suffer from mental health issues. They wont have the ability to modify their situation without the support of others. It is very rare that someone will be homeless all of his or her life on a voluntary basis.

Source: Réseau solidarité du Québec (2006).Pour une politique en Itinérance.

The Dangers of Homelessness

Being homeless is certainly not the most comfortable situation to live in. In fact, it can be very dangerous. According to the street health report (2007) 1 out of 3 homeless person is physically assaulted during the course of a year. This is one of the risks of living in the street, you never know who you might run into. Also, 1 out of 8 homeless are assaulted by a police officer in the course of a year. This is unfortunate. Police officers have as a mandate to protect the people on street, not to harm them, no matter who they are. Finally, 1 out of 5 homeless women are raped over the course of a year. In the street it is obvious that women are more exposed to that. They may put themselves in dangerous situations in exchange of money but the simple fact of being in the street exposes them much more than any other women.

Friday, April 29, 2011

More than $1.2 million approved to help the homeless in Sherbrooke - Human Resources Development Canada Press Release

Here is an interesting article published in 2002. Financial support was attributed to many Sherbrooke organizations who help work with homeless people. It sad however, that this was the case in 2002, since no singnificant amongt has been donated. This issue has to be spoken of  a lot more in order to get help from the govenment and other organizations.
SHERBROOKE, Québec, July 8 /CNW/ - Twelve Sherbrooke organizations are receiving over $1.2 million in federal funding to support projects designed to combat homelessness. Funding is being provided through the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), under the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Denis Coderre, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Member of Parliament for Bourassa, on behalf of the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw, Minister of Labour and Federal Coordinator on Homelessness. "The Government of Canada is pleased to support projects that bring together community partners to help people in need," said Mr. Coderre. "With proper support, these people will have a chance to adopt a healthier and more stable lifestyle."
The funding for these projects will enable the Sherbrooke organizations to provide essential services to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The attached backgrounder provides a list of the approved projects. In addition to the Government of Canada funding, some of the projects are receiving financial support from the Government of Quebec or parapublic, municipal or community agencies. "In Quebec, projects announced to date under the SCPI, the Urban Aboriginal Strategy and the Youth component of the National Homelessness Initiative come to more than $59 million," added Minister Coderre. The National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) works in partnership with community organizations, the private sector and all levels of government to help Canada's homeless people by bringing together various partners to develop local solutions that work to address particular homelessness needs and issues.
Through this co-ordinated approach, the following programs are available to support communities across Canada: the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative; Urban Aboriginal Strategy; the youth component of the NHI; the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative; and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Renovation and Conversion Programs, as well as the Shelter Enhancement Program.
In February 2001, the governments of Canada and Quebec signed a cooperation agreement on the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative. The agreement is in keeping with the jurisdictions, policies and priorities of both governments regarding matters of homelessness. A joint management committee oversees coordination of the agreement in Quebec. The committee is supported by an advisory committee that brings together representatives of both levels of government and of community organizations. Funding for the National Homelessness Initiative was provided for in the December 2001 federal Budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.
For more information on the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative, visit our Web site at < a href="">
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Golden Voice' homeless man finds job, home after viral video success

Prejudices Homelessness

There are many miss conceptions as to what homeless people are. As a sub group, homeless people are victims of discrimination. The main ones are that, it's their fault if they are in that situation, they are not educated, they dont wash themeselves and that they are all alcoholics. When people walk by a homeless person they tend to think, "get a job". But imagine how hard it is to find a job when homeless. You don't have a car, you don't have a computer to write a CV and then, how are you going to dress for the interview? And what will you tell the interviewer when he asks about your background. Maybe it is possible to get a job, but infront of that wall, I can understand why many of them don't even try.

Homeless Statistics.

Shelter Occupancy Rates by Canadian Province March 2001
According to the 2001 census, the following occupancy rates in Canadian shelters (meaning homeless shelters, halfway houses and emergency lodgings for abused spouses and their children) on one day in March were reported as:
Canada 14,145 (total)
Ontario 6,100
Quebec 3,365
Alberta 1,935
British Columbia 1,085
Manitoba 885
New Brunswick 265
Saskatchewan 255
Nova Scotia 165
Newfoundland and Labrador 45
Northwest Territories 20
Yukon Territory 15
Prince Edward Island 5
Nunavut 5
"The data should not be interpreted as Canada's homeless population but the number of people in shelters that day."
The statistics are fairly accurate for a "one day spot check," says Diane Morrison, executive director of The Mission, a homeless shelter in Ottawa. The numbers reflect only the month of May, when the census was taken.
"If the data had been taken during winter, when we experience our highest occupancy rates, the results would have been quite different," she says.

This is only for one day out of 365 days, can you imagine how dominant this problem is. Its a reality that we are faced with, however, not many people are aware of the situation.

Groups say federal program to combat homelessness is in limbo

In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character wakes up to relive the same horrible day over and over and over again. Across the province advocates for the homeless are identifying with the film’s plot line as they wait for the federal government to announce the guidelines and budget for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) funding.
The community-based program to combat homelessness has existed since the beginning of this millennium. In Quebec, $18 million is spent annually throughout the province, roughly $750,000 of that is used in Sherbrooke.
Several local organizations, such as Chaudronnée, la Source-Soleil and the Maison Jeunes-Est, benefit from the program to continue long-term projects and offer services.
The funding has also helped develop new responses to urgent needs, primarily when it comes to transitional and supportive housing.
But in 196 days the funding ends prompting agencies to urge the federal government to act quickly.
Table de concertation sur l’itinérance à Sherbrooke along with its partners in the group Réseau SOLIDARITÉ itinérance du Québec (RSIQ), a network of services for the homeless, is reminding the federal government to not neglect their commitment to prevent and reduce homelessness.
“The services for our homelessness community have proven effective for people and are recognized by others in our milieu. It is deplorable that the partners must continually mobilize to demand the resources they need to maintain these services especially since a pan-Canadian assessment found the HPS program to be very successful,” said Marie-Claude Vézina, RSIQ president and spokesperson for the Table itinérance à Sherbrooke, which alone helps between 1,000 and 1,300 people annually.
Across the province last week RSIQ members and partners gathered outside the offices of the Secretariat of partnerships to fight against homelessness in Montreal and Gatineau and held rallies in various regions to ask the federal government not to leave its most needy citizens out in the cold.
The current budget for the HPS in Quebec is the same as in 2001 despite the increasing needs and rising costs of both intervention and real estate. Rather than ask community organizations to maintain the same level of service with a restrictive budget the RSIQ is requesting the HPS annual budget to be increased to $50 million in Quebec for the 2011 to 2014 period.
Members of the RSIQ are apprehensive that the program’s guidelines may be amended prompting them to ask that it continue to operate under general-interest financing allowing it the flexibility to enable a diverse amount of projects geared to the needs of individual communities.
Lastly the groups are requesting that the federal government not drag its feet any longer and implement the 2011-2014 HPS quickly to avoid disruption of services before March 31, 2011.

By Corrinna Pole, The Record, The voice of the eastern Townships.

Youth Homelessness In Canada part 1

Youth Homelessness In Canada part 2

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Simple Facts&Statistics

There are 100 million people who are homeless worldwide. In Canada the number is up to 200,000. As for Quebec there are approximately 3,365 homeless people.
Source: International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 2008.
The Homeless population in Canada has grown in the past years. It was known as a crisis in only urban centers such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, the increasing incident of Homelessness in the suburbs is necessitating new services and resources. In the past men used to comprise the majority of homeless persons, now women and children are representing the growing population of homelessness who are followed by youth. This issue throughout the years has become a major political issue in Canada.

Source: Homelessness in Canada, 2011, Wikipedia.