Knowing I had volunteered to setup, tear-down and cleanup for the Blue Bus, a friend brought me a copy of Regina Dalton’s July 29th Abbotsford News Letter to the Editor when he came to access the meal, foodstuffs and clothing provided by the Blue Bus two Sundays a month.
Being July 31, once cleanup was finished I headed home to pay September’s rent before heading to find a spot to write about yet another absurd decision by politicians and bureaucrats to waste money on an ineffective ‘get the homeless off the streets’ boondoggle. Another demonstration of politicians masterful ability to increase homelessness, poverty, economic disadvantage, their salaries and the levels of Irony in Canada.
For close to two years, once my housing costs are paid, $40 remains to purchase food and all other necessities for the month.
While this $40 Poverty Diet has been good for shrinking my waistline, it has been very bad for my diabetes and my health. Living with diabetes and its negative consequences is also complicated by not having been able to find a family doctor.
For those two years my financial circumstances placed me at the leading edge of those with a significant risk of becoming homeless. This sword of Damocles hanging over my head adds stress and anxiety to my life, making living and dealing with mental health challenges more challenging than it would be without this constant, grinding worry.
It is a financial reality that – unless something changes – makes becoming homeless just a matter of time since no matter how well you manage your money, when the cost of housing requires more than 100% of your total income – you will not remained housed for long.
Unfortunately Abbotsford’s house prices have recently headed for the stratosphere and that means that new owners need empty rental units they can rent out for hundreds of dollars more in order to cover the significantly higher mortgage costs of higher house prices
These notably higher rents have rapidly placed pressure on rents across the board and pushed rent costs in Abbotsford greatly, rapidly, upwards.
As a consequence, when I stopped to pay August’s rent, our current abundance of irony delivered a $100 a month rent increase. Hm. After paying August’s shelter cost, $40 was left to cover all other costs. September’s shelter cost is $100 more, leaving me -60$ [$40 – $100] in the hole. The cost of living where I have for a decade, threatens to be higher than my income.
I stare homelessness in the face, while politicians provide training so service providers can move the homeless from the real world, where NOT being homeless requires having the funds to pay for housing, to whatever fantasy realm Canadian politicians live in.
On the positive side of irony, teetering on the edge of homelessness is not just ‘to bad, not our concern, good luck’ because I am the canary in the coal mine, the leading edge of a significant flood of newly minted homeless.