Sunday, September 28, 2008

Me to We

I have been reading a book Me to We written by two Toronto young people Craig and Marc Kielburger. It is categorized as a self help book. "Imagine waking up every morning believing that your actions can make a difference". They founded a charity called Free the Children. In their book they describe a Yugoslavian lady called Agnes. She trained as a teacher. She became ill with the potentially fatal disease of tuberculosis. She recovered, took in a dying woman. In 1979 she won the Nobel Peace Prize. she formed the Missionaries of Charity organisation which has 500 centres in 120 countries. We know her as Mother Teresa. One person can make a difference. I recommend the book.

Understanding the scale of the issue

It is not the homeless that are the problem, it is the fact that there are homeless people in Milton that is the issue and one the community needs to take action to support them. I think step 1 is an assessment of the scale of the issue. A survey monkey questionnaire link will follow shortly.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vision for the homeless in Milton

What is our vision for the homeless in Milton? That they should go out of town somewhere else or that we should care for them in amongst our own affluent community? Without a vision, we cannot have a strategy or action plan. What is our vision? A short term vision or goal should be to make some seasonal provision for the homeless in Milton. This could be one of many things:
1) Help and advice
2) A soup kitchen
3) Provision for clothing/ blankets
4) A voice in the community
5) Community support
6) Transport to shelters outside Milton
7) Demanding answers from our community leaders and regional MPs
8) Comments on this blog

Practical ways to help

1) Write to the four Halton Riding election candidates
2) Attend and ask questions at Milton Town Council meetings
3) Offer to help
4) Write to the Milton Canadian Champion (555 Industrial Dr, Milton Ont. L9T 5E1 Tel: 905 878 2341
5) Offer to donate blankets, food and clothing

Vulnerable teens

The homeless in Milton includes vulnerable teens (runaways and addicts). there are several individuals investigating and a boarding house offering help. Each week it appears people have been evicted from houses in Milton with no-where else to go. They are dependent on the compassion and charity of individuals to get them by. We need a strategy and structured plan for our community. I am told there are several people sleeping outside in Milton every night. It is fall now and night-time temperatures will soon be falling.

Halton Riding election

The Halton Riding's election candidates are hitting the campaign trial. we should be asking some tough questions of them in what they are doing for the homeless in Milton, Ontario fastest growing town. "Is homelessness a priority with their party? Is it even on their radar?". The candidates are Garth Turner (Liberal), Lisa Raitt (Tory), Rob Wagner (NDP) and Amy Collard (Green) Everyone of us in Milton has a responsibility to be writing to each of the four candidates to ask these questions and expect answers. Public advocacy does work and politics does react to public opinion. If is important to us it will be important to us.

Google search

I have done a Google search on homeless in Milton. The Salvation Army's Lighthouse Center in Oakville is found, plus the recent articles in the Milton Canadian Champion. There was a link to a site where someone was looking at blanket donations but the last posting is several years old. The Thrift Store in Milton was identified. i could not find anything else of relevance.

Milton Town Council

On the search for what Milton is doing to make provision to care for the homeless in Milton I visited the Milton Town Council website. I am shocked and sickened to find that doing a search on the Town Council's website that there is no results or references to the homeless. None. Nothing, at all. How can we ignore the matter and pretend it doesn't exist.

St Paul's Church, Milton

I listened to a sermon in this last week where it was pointed out that there is a homeless problem in Milton, Ontario - our community. That homeless people come to look for help and shelter and that there is no provision for them in Milton itself. Despite the apparent affluence of the fastest growing town in Ontario, the homeless are directed to the small Lighthouse Shelter run by the Salvation Army in Oakville or alternatively Hamilton, Mississauga or Toronto. This is not right.

Canadian Champion Sept 26

The Milton Canadian Champion on Sept 26 printed an Opinion on page A6 further to the previous article by Ryan Bolton on September 12th. This was titled " Homelessness can't be ignored". It echoes my own thoughts. "In a community as affluent as Halton, it's hard to believe that homelessness is a problem."

Canadian Champion Sept 12

The front page story of the Canadian Champion on September 12, 2008 was titled "Homelessness on the rise". It was a special to the Champion by Ryan Bolton. Under the front page photograph reads "With Halton's homeless population on the rise, a lack of shelters in the region is forcing many to seek a place to sleep in cities such as Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto". Visit Well done Champion and Ryan for printing this article on the front page.