Thursday, March 10, 2016
Homelessness in Canada
We watched several films at last weekend's Docfest in Belleville including After the Last River, about the remote Northern Ontario First Nations community of Attawapiskat. The De Beers diamond mine opened relatively close to the community, which brought hopes of well-paid jobs and increased prosperity. This hasn't been the case, with most of the money from the mine benefitting the company and the province.
Meanwhile, the school had to be closed and eventually torn down because it was on toxic soil, and scores of people have been housed in what are really construction trailers because their homes were condemned. Others, including families with young children had taken up residence in tents, living in these flimsy structures through winter temperatures plummeting to -40 degrees. We talked afterward about the sick feeling each of us felt in the pit of our stomachs knowing that this could actually be happening in Canada. The squalor is a national shame. Thank God for MP's such as Charlie Angus who have attempted to shine a light on the dire circumstances.
On Monday a United Nations report called out Canada for the persistent housing crisis across the country with a focus was on homelessness. I immediately thought of the people of Attawapiskat even though homelessness is an issue in many communities. I'm never quite sure how I as a Christian should be addressing this reality, but my gut tells me I should care and become involved.