It doesn’t matter how many times I find myself in the downtown/uptown area, it never ceases to amaze me how there can still be people living on the streets. Calling a hard piece of concrete home. I’ve heard it so many times from my family back home (Nicaragua) how they are under the impression that poverty does not exist in Canada. Yet how many times have we passed those squatters sitting with their caps or cups out waiting for someone to drop some change into it? How many times have we pretended we were looking elsewhere or just keep our gaze straight ahead….like they’re not even there?
These folks are the voice less, invisible demographic in our society. Some consider them pests, not realizing that they rely on the voice of those of us that can blend in with society, hold a 9-5 or even a part-time job. Pay a rent, eat a meal everyday, have a roof over our heads and a warm bed to go home to. It’s on us, the ones that are “better off” to stand up for those that need our help. Who cares why?!?! Who cares if it’s because they are drug addicts or alcoholics ? The majority of people that end up on the streets is because they’ve lead lives that make the streets their sanctuary! They are people that leave their homes due to mental illness (alcoholism and drug addiction included) and because of the way our system is built can’t even get a health card or SIN card because they have no permanent address.
We don’t help solve the problem. We are the problem. So next time you see someone asking for spare change, even if you have none, tell them. Acknowledge them. They are human beings as well. They had a mother and father as well. They are not invisible.