I visited Toronto yesterday

memories rumble still:

urine garbage smells

worn faces

young, old

waiting, hustling.

 Pavement, traffic

bicycles spinning

 on green painted strips.

 Last summer,

a doctor died

nobody called her patients

“Inspired Care”.

A woman in a wheelchair


to be pushed

back up a hospital ramp—

staff rush by, ignore her pleas

“she shouldn’t smoke”.

A stone angel shudders.

As my poem reports,  I was in downtown Toronto yesterday near an inner city hospital. Stepping out of my rural retreat, a brush with urban poverty and homelessness is bleak, depressing. I wrote this poem in today’s aftermath. While musing and surfing I stumbled on a  recent report and article on homelessness . Canada did have a federal housing program until 1993 when it was eliminated.  Since then, construction of affordable housing has dropped and homelessness has increased each year. The estimated annual number of homeless Canadians is 235,000.  Statistics are impersonal and beyond comprehension. Even 1000 people without homes is unacceptable.

On a more positive note, major cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver) have adopted 10-year plans to reduce homelessness.  Unfortunately a recent study indicates that these plans are doomed to fail if the federal government doesn’t step in with national funding and coordination. City mayors are asking for  $12.6 billion over the next 10 years to pay for new affordable housing.  I certainly will back this whenever I have the opportunity.

©2016, ontheland.wordpress.com

12 thoughts on “Homelessness

  1. I had my eyes opened in Ottawa to poverty/street begging/homelessness. Your last line says it all. The lack of will to help those in need in this country is a disgrace to all those with the power to do so. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel sorry for these homeless people, which are increasing everywhere and so is the world poverty,I think the governments should find a solution to it, but countries like mine ( India) with huge population I dont think a near possibility of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful poem. I volunteer at a homeless shelter in Windsor every Monday. There are other homeless too that people don’t see or know about. They “couch surf” from one relative to another, one friend’s place to another until no one wants to help them out anymore. The unseen homeless. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

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