NO letters to the editor for YOU! -local newspapers tell homeless

Borrowing from Jerry Seinfeld, this is what the newspapers tell the homeless. Adding insult to the injury their failure to accurately inform the public of the truth and reality of the homeless situation in Abbbotsford by denying them any editorial voice as well.

“letters…include an address and daytime phone number to be used for verification purposes”

Let us consider these requirements. I am homeless, therefore I have no fixed address to give them. I cannot afford shelter or food and certainly have no money to waste on luxuries such as a phone. “Money talks” is an old expression, but seems true in ways I had not thought of before. The truly needy are so poor that newspapers deny them any voice. They will no doubt claim the need to be able to verify letters are not fake, perhaps even citing cases of fake letters in the past. Anyone, including some local journalists, who chose to make the effort required had no problem verifying the existence of, communicating with or meeting Mr. H. Although somehow I doubt they will claim laziness as their excuse for any verification problems.

The BC Press code states “newspapers first duty is to provide the public with accurate information”. Hmmm. It also calls on newspapers to “defend the right of expressing opinions no matter how controversial”. Hmmm. I suppose that neither actually requires newspapers to provide the with accurate information about major social issues. One could argue that an important part of defending a right of expression is to occasionally use that right. Homelessness is a major social issue. Newspapers claim to cover important issues so that people can make intelligent, informed decisions. HA! This is not a nice, neat, easy or simple issue to cover. It is not a popular issue, especially with the advertisers (whether businesses, local officials or government) and the powers that be. This has apparently led to news providers (newspapers, television, magazines) avoiding the issue and its assorted difficulties. Denying the homeless a voice and denying the public any true and accurate information for making decisions about addressing homelessness.

For the homeless such as myself, (who would like to begin to address the issue of the homeless and start to deal with the underlying problems that give rise to these social problems, rather than wasting money chasing the homeless from neighbourhood to neighbourhood around the city and all the other such wastes) it is far easier to tell about the reality of homelessness and make editorial comments to the entire world on the world wide web, than it is to reach our fellow citizens of Abbotsford through the local papers. Through the Internet I can speak to the world using www.geocities.com/homelessinabbotsford to share the arduous life lessons I have learned. Any citizen of Abbotsford interested in actually accomplishing something on this issue can join the rest of the world there to read my writings and get a view of what is really happening on the streets and within the current social assistance system with regards to this important issue. And hopefully, at some point, our local (news)papers.

Fellow Business People? Citizens? BLEEP ‘em!!!

This is what the downtown business people and association has to say to both the other business people in the city and their fellow citizens of Abbotsford. Street Hope is closing as a result of being evicted from their location at 2467 Pauline Street as part of the effort to drive the homeless and poor away from the downtown area. Since it was related to me second hand (no not by a street person, one of the homed who appreciate their blessings enough to want to help the less fortunate) I will not point a finger but this individual, when it was pointed out that the homeless were not going to just disappear (as discussed previously in “an unsightly sight”), but move elsewhere in Abbotsford replied “I don’t care where they go as long as it is not here”. Not In My Backyard appears alive and well, yet people complain that society is much less civil than it use to be in “the good old days”. Yes, those days when people (including business people) helped those less fortunate and people considered the affect their actions would have on their fellow citizens. Seeing as Abbotsford is well known as a Christian community I suspect that many of those business people will be found in churches on Sundays saying the words while the rest of the week they fail to walk the walk. In fact their actions add to the general misery of their fellow residents – not just the homeless. With “enemies” like these “good christians” evil certainly does not need any friends in order to spread suffering in this city.

The irony is that it is the other business people and citizens who have paid for this turn of events. The gentrification of the downtown is a result of the large tax breaks and advantages that the property owners and business people receive for being located downtown. All of which everyone else in the city pays for. And pays for, and pays for ……. They also are contributing large sums of money through the use of city resources in driving (or attempting to drive) the “unwanted element” out of the downtown and into their own neighbourhoods. In “you are already paying” I wrote about the large number of your tax $$$ the city wastes dealing with the homeless. Now they are going to waste more taxpayer dollars – to drive the homeless into the taxpayers own neighbourhoods. How Truly Ironic. And a true waste of resources. As has been seen and demonstrated in Vancouver all that happens is that you move them from one area of the city to another. When the citizens of that area get upset they are moved along to another are, and another …. Until they arrive back at the area where they started out. In the end what does all the money spent on this process accomplish? Nothing!

There are more homeless every day. It seems to me that the intelligent way to approach the problem is not to continue to try to sweep it under the rug (as it were) but to put in place programs that address the causes, to reform our assistance system so that it in fact it assists those who want to find work and get on their feet to do so (as opposed to the way it currently hinders becoming employed), to reform the social assistance system to assist the “clients” and society in dealing with the root causes and effects of homelessness and poverty. The City needs to wake up and see reality. Moving people from area to area within the city is a pointless waste of money. Stop wasting it and spend it on things such as coordinating the many charities and programs so that the effects are maximized. Take the lead in organizing the citizens’ response so that it address issues such as shelter, training and finding work. Get together with the other municipalities in getting the provincial government to reform the system and implement programs that the addresses problems instead of contributing to enlarging those problems. Look to see what federal employment programs could be used. Coordinate, take proactive actions and show some leadership. Think instead of reacting and stop wasting large amounts of taxpayers dollars.

Of course I do get a laugh from the thought of all those self-righteous business people and citizens of Abbotsford who look down on and ignore the plight of the homeless are paying to drive the homeless out of downtown, on behalf of the downtown business people they subsidize so heavily, into their neighbourhoods.

A few thoughts on the cities, citizens and business peoples actions in addressing homelessness in Abbotsford:

Insanity is doing the same thin over and over and expecting a
different result.
AA, Al-anon

Only two things are infinite,
the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein

Never underestimate
the power of human stupidity.
Robert A.
Heinlein

Why is the BC government forcing people to remain on welfare instead of working?

I do not know why the government wants people to remain on welfare, NOT working but it is obvious they do. This government claims it is interested in getting people off welfare and into the workforce – it is lying or incompetent. OR, I suppose, both incompetent and lying. They pay lip service to getting people off welfare and back onto their feet but their policies and actions actually prevent people from returning to the workforce from the welfare rolls.

Currently I am struggling to overcome the negative effects their “assistance” system has had on my job seeking. Those readers who have read the back-story will recall the problems I faced in getting clothing suitable to wear to interviews. I have since found out that there is a $200 limit on their “help”. Pants, suit jacket, dress shirt and tie suitable for making a good impression on the prospective employer for $200 (being rather large I have to go to Mr. Big and Tall for clothing, which raises the price). Even with careful spending the bill came to almost twice that amount. Without this attire I would make bad impressions on any interviewer with the result that I would not find work. Were it not for the generosity of other people I would not have been able to get the suitable clothing required. Remember that the system requires you to have no assets, then has you waiting for several weeks before you receive any money. This means you are past being broke into negative cash flow and any money is always spent before you even receive it. You are thus entirely dependent on the system for anything you need in your job search. When the system denies you financial aid in purchasing clothing suitable to wearing to interviews they are saying NO to you becoming employed (then turn around and accuse you of not looking for work).

Through the kindness of strangers (who knowing of the need for clothing suitable to an interview, wanted to help me find work) I had clothing to wear to make a good impression at interviews. With clothes appropriate to the interview process I did receive a job offer. But now I needed office wear. Fortunately the dress code was office casual so that I could get by with purchasing two pairs of khakis as my sport shirts would serve. I desperately needed those two pairs of pants in order to enter back into the workforce and off welfare. With no acceptable pants (all the pants I own are worn and tattered at this point) I would be in violation of the dress code, resulting in the loss of the job and a return to welfare. What of my request for the two pairs of pants so I could work? NO – I had already received all the “help” they would give, In denying me the clothing needed to keep the job I had struggled/worked so hard to find – the system was saying NO to me being employed.

The system was upset that I was homeless (claiming my homelessness would prove a barrier to employment – it did not) and had threatened to deny the $185. I did get the $185 and being homeless left the full amount for me to use ($325 does not cover housing in Abbotsford and you must use the $185, or a portion thereof, to make up the difference between your shelter allowance and your REAL shelter costs). So in spite of the hardships associated with being homeless it had the advantage of leaving me with the full $185. This was/is very important as timing results in my first pay cheque arriving on the last Friday of January. Surviving until then is complicated by having a major expense I did not have before – food. Not something you can do without. Before I was working I could go down to the Salvation Army for a hot lunch and handouts of fruit, vegetable and bread. My food bill was $0. No longer. I now need to purchase what had once been free. My budgeting suggests that I should expect little of the $185 to remain after purchasing food to eat. Which leaves me with a few outstanding needs. Transportation to work, maintaining cleanliness (washing both myself and my clothes) and someway for my employer to contact me. Bus pass = $40; Bathing pass = $40; Laundry = $20; Phone = $35; total needed = $135. So in order to meet the cash flow demanded by actions to remain employed I needed approximately $100 to cover the period before my wages began to cover these costs. What does the system say about covering these types of expenses in the gap between starting work and getting paid for work done? NO! The system denies any help covering cash outflows required to continue working. NO to being employed.

Based on my own personal experience I can only conclude that the current government wants to keep people from becoming employed and getting back on their feet.

My Goal Government Response
Clothing for interview, find employment NO
Meeting dress code; keeping job NO
Getting to work, cleanliness, keeping job NO

At every turn in my quest to work the government has seemingly tried to block me from working by denying the help required. NO, NO, NO to getting the help needed to find employment. I have only been able to overcome the governments’ obstacles through help from good Samaritans. I have no idea why the government seeks to keep people on welfare. My experience (and that of others I know) is that although they claim they want people working, they are denying people the opportunity to work by denying them the resources they need to attain and maintain employment – saying NO to people getting work and off welfare. It does not matter what the government claims – their actions speak louder than their words, screaming NO at those of us seeking to be gainfully employed.

I frankly have no idea why the government does NOT want welfare recipients becoming employed. Perhaps it is some attempt to hold down wages by maintaining a large pool of unemployed. Perhaps the government feels the need for something they can use to distract the public from their record. Or perhaps it is just a required tenet of their Ideology – those on welfare are bums out to take the system – and to protect their worldview they need to keep people on welfare and not getting employed. The why is not really as important (although I would like to know WHY?) as the effect of the government actions in repeatedly saying NO to helping people off welfare and into the workforce.

Most fortunate for me is that in this arduous life lesson I have found some good people, people who truly want to help, whose actions lend help to those of us in need of a hand to get back onto our feet and on with our lives. So I can say NO to the governments efforts to keep me on welfare, keep me from finding work and from keeping my job.

To the government and system I sayif you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If the government/system truly wants to get people back into the workforce (as opposed to only claiming that as a goal) they need to get some competent people involved, get out of the way and stop saying NO to helping people find work.

a Strange look

I fell into a discussion about ‘bait’ cars the other evening. How to recognize a bait car, precautions to take just in case you judged wrong and the car you stole turned out to be a bait car and you needed to be able to escape the car.

It was a simple straightforward and interesting discussion I was having with a fellow homeless person. Now I was not, nor do I believe was my conversational partner, planning to run out and steal a car. It was just an interesting conversation on a wet night, taking place where a local church was providing food and clothing to the homeless – as they do every week on that evening. One of their newer members was sitting where he could listen and when I glanced his way he had a rather strange look on his face. I suppose it sounded like we were planning to go out and steal cars. His look suggested he could not quite believe what he was hearing, that the thought that people who needed money for food and/or shelter would consider stealing had never occurred to him. It did give me a chuckle at the time.

It also made me wonder what politicians or the public are thinking sometimes. OK – I concede that getting politicians to think is probably a forlorn hope, but I still have hopes the public can think on this subject if one can get in front of them information such as this blog. Just recently a rumour (true or not I cannot say) had the government planning to start to kick a large number of people off the welfare rolls. Which I suppose they spin to get public applause and in hopes that by pulling out this old tattered ploy they could get voters to forget all the idiocy the current government is and has embraced.

I have had some cold hungry days and it is still early winter. I know that get me cold, hungry and desperate enough – morals and honesty be damned. Even a warm cell and 3 meals a day beats cold starvation “free” on the streets. Could that be the provincial government plan? Starve the homeless and the poor enough to commit crimes, arrest them, lock them in jail and voila! The streets are free of homeless. Well until government policy causes more unfortunates to fall into the clutches of the system. Or those in jail are freed for lack of jail space or the end of their sentences. Then you have more homeless than you started with. But, the government does gain a bogeyman to spook the electorate with at the next election (and avoid running on what they actually did). It is an extremely expensive course of action and when you look at what it would accomplish – NOTHING – it is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. But as recent news reminds us, this is a government that has no hesitation in wasting tax dollars gain political advantage or in pursuit of their ideology.

The Homeless Party

What this country needs is a new political party. OK more of a replacement for the old Progressive conservatives. A party supporting Canadian Values, fiscally responsible and not the current government. I do not know what it is about Canadian politics, that no matter how well a Party does in matters affecting the governance of Canada, once re-elected the Party fails in matters of self governance, it is this failing that gave us the Liberal sponsorship scandal and all of the Mulroney Conservative scandals.

A new Party, free from favours owed, baggage or ideological blinders. A Party in the tradition and Values of Canada. In the Canadian Way – a stay out of the bedrooms, centrist, protect minorities and fiscally responsible Party. Not some American clone such as the Conservatives advocating American values – if we wanted to live in the USA we would (they should) move there.

I AM CANADIAN!


Hmmmm?? A Homeless Party. Strikes me as an interesting idea. There are among the homeless those with education, experience and ability. Use to squeezing all the value out of every dollar. Knowing the importance of compassion and consideration for others. Having Arduous life experience, the best teacher of important, useful and tough real life lessons. With an unparalleled understanding and experience of the important of respecting and protecting the rights of all Canadians. Sounds like just the people and Party we desperately need to lead Canada into the future, providing a sound alternative to ALL the current political Parties.

VOTE for Leadership and Ability!

VOTE Homeless!!

VOTE Mr. H!! – I need the job.

Gasmask Required.

It started with radio ads, or at least it did for me since I currently seldom watch television. Not that it was unexpected, just not so many, over and over and over. Obviously I am speaking of the Conservative Party ads aimed at angering the Canadian public over the sponsorship Scandal. Although, based on the TV ad I saw last evening the $$$amount is increasing, now up to 300 million. What I want to know is, since the Conservative Party is screaming so hard about the Liberal waste of tax dollars, are they going to repay the 200 million wasted on the Inquiry? I doubt it. I have little doubt they will disavow responsibility for the Inquiry, even though they forced the government to hold the Inquiry – when the public knew that an inquiry would accomplish nothing (and were proved correct in this). The Conservatives are the reason that more hundreds of millions of our tax dollars were wasted. All so the Conservative party could cause embarrassment to the Liberals. I do not mind them trying for political advantage, I mind a great deal when they waste all those $$$ millions of our taxes dollars.

Before some hard core Conservative accuses me of being a Liberal – NO. The first vote I ever cast in my life was for Robert Standfield and I was a life-long Progressive Conservative, even serving as on of the foot soldiers during several election campaigns. Until the TRAITOR, he who should never be named (or elected), sold out the Progressive Conservative party in his lust for power. Now I find myself with no other reasonably acceptable course of action but to hold my nose and vote Liberal. Not because I fail to think we could use a change, but for the lack of an acceptable party to change to.

I will be voting Liberal because I feel the most important issue to Canada remaining Canada the need for a government that will act in a socially responsible and reasonable manner. I expect the Liberals to act in such a manner and to keep their promise not to use the “Not withstanding clause” of the constitution to override Supreme Court decisions because those decision conflict with their ideology – even if the Liberal’s promised attempt to add this to the Charter should fail.

Protecting the rights of groups who are not popular is the most important aspect of the Charter. In a society as diverse as that of Canada (geographically, politically and multi-culturally), that is continuing to become more diverse, it is of paramount importance. Not just to help us all deal with each other, but because tolerance is an integral part of being Canadian. On can only assume those who wish to force their vies on others (e.g. Religion, sexual behaviour) have become Americanized by all the USA media propaganda that flows across the border. I AM A CANADAIAN. When the Charter is functioning as it should, it is going to upset us. We are so diverse a people that there are going to be conflicts, the Charter protects the rights of the weak (smaller groups) to be treated equally and with respect. That is being Canadian.

The Conservatives stated policy is to force their views on groups they disapprove of on an ideological basis. Worse they will do this in the name of ALL citizens. Thus the Conservatives ideology is so UNCANADIAN that I am force to hold my nose and vote Liberal. It may stink, but not as badly as the Conservative Party’s attitude on the question of protecting citizens’ rights.