Final Conclusion

With all that’s been researched and shared it is only fair to say that we cannot stop people from becoming homeless. We can however find a way to help them get by after the fact and show that they have a chance to revive themselves. Homelessness is not a choice, it is something that comes either terrifyingly slow or in the blink of an eye. We have said that nowadays there is an increase in the amount of people who happen to be homeless in the lower mainland. Several community members are collaborating with students from other Langley high schools in an initiative to bring awareness to the issue of youth homelessness in Langley.  The goal is to get a shelter for homeless youth in our district.

If society helped out just a little we would be able to help decrease the amount of homelessness. A suggestion we came up is to have some of the governments money go to the homeless shelters in the lower mainland or put money toward a couple more shelters to help out those less fortunate. We can’t change what has happened to these individuals but we can give them a reason to try and get further and better from where they came from.

 

-Homeless 4

 

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Government Funding Possibilities

Governments now spend more than $4 billion a year dealing with homelessness in this country. Specifically in Langley, new $13.7 million developments are providing 55 beds for homeless people and officially opened in Langley.  7, of which, funding from federal, provincial, municipal and community partners. The Gateway of Hope provides 30 emergency shelter and 25 supportive transitional beds, drop in meal services and support services on site. Homelessness is one of the leading issues all around the world and has recently increased in Canada’s lower mainland. In my opinion, the government should be putting in more money to helping those in need and perhaps reduce the poverty rate.

“With the opening of this facility, a great need is being met in our community, one that will greatly improve the lives of many.”   – Mayor Rick Green

 

-Homeless 4

Questions Answered

Masami Tomioka was very kind and gave clear and straightforward  answers to the questions that we had which helped us with our research and curiosity.

1. What is the name of the shelter you work at and what is your position?

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Drop In and Emergency Night Shelter. 

2. What do homeless people need?

To be treated with respect and dignity, to be provided the same opportunities that any other individual has, they have a right to have all of their basic needs met (food, clothing, shelter, etc)

3. What is a common factor you find in homeless people?

Poverty

4. What can we do as a society to lower the amount of homelessness?

Provide adequate support re: treatment on demand (addiction and mental health)

Provide adequate welfare rates for people to find housing. Currently welfare recipients receive $375.00 for shelter/rent and $282 for food and any other expenses for the month. You can not rent a room in a DTES SRO (single room occupancy hotel) for $375.00.

5. What percentages of people who come into the shelter have substance abuse problems or mental health issues?

Approximately 70% or higher 

6. What are some other reasons why people come to the shelter?

Women fleeing violence, women living in poverty

Mental health and or addictions has made them unstable and unable to be successful in a housing situation

7. How often do you see children compared to adults?

Our shelter and many others do not accept children. There are family only designated shelters in the lower mainland (most are for women fleeing violence with their children so have strict criteria).

Youth under the age of 21 also have designated youth shelters.

If children or youth come to us, we try to redirect them to a more appropriate space.  We only intermittently see children and youth.

8. How many people actually want to get help and get back on track?

Everyone wants help to get back on track. It is about the way the help is provided. Help comes with barriers to service (ie. You have to be sober to get help from mental health services because they say that they can’t tell if you are high or have a mental health issue. The problem is that addictions services won’t see anyone that they suspect has a mental health issue until they have seen mental health services.)

Systemic barriers are the greatest cause for people getting overwhelmed and giving up. 

9. How many people have you seen that refuse help

Only a small number of people refuse help. People require different levels of support and many  tries before success. Success looks different for each person. That is why we prescribe to Harm reduction strategies.

10. Do you do drugs/alcohol test for the residents who stay here?

Never

11. How many employees reside in your building?

Our staff work in shifts. We have 3 evening staff and 2 awake overnight staff for a shelter that often sees 150 women a night. 

12. How many volunteers do you have helping?

We have a few women of the community who access our services who want to give back and so they will volunteer 1-2 days a week for a couple of hours.

13. How do we confront people without them feeling uncomfortable?

Not sure what you mean. What are you confronting them about?

14. Is there a time limit for how long they can stay in the shelter?

Our shelter is an emergency shelter. There is no limit to amount of nights a person may stay. Unfortunately, we close during the day so they must carry their belongings around during the day with them.

15. How many people come into the shelter in a day?

Approximately 150 per night for the shelter

Up to 350 women per day at our Drop In (located in a separate building)

16. What is a common routine that people follow with coming into the shelter?

Line up outside the door prior to opening

Sign up to get a cot

Get their sleeping area ready (sheets, blankets)

Have a shower

Have a hot meal

Social/recreational time (Movies, popcorn, games, or they leave and come back for snack at 11pm)

Sleep/Quiet time at about 1am to 6am

Wake up 7-7:30am

Breakfast

Pack up and leave by 9am

17. How many regulars do you have?

About 25

18. How often do you see new people coming into the shelter?

Recently daily

19. Is there a time of year that there are more or less people coming into the shelter?

No, we are full every day

20. How many people just stop coming to the shelter?

Not many. If they stop it is due to hospitalization, death or finding housing (in which case they may come by to visit and update the staff)

21. What do you think are some of the causes for the disappearances of people?

In the case of women,  sex work, violence.

22. What impact do the police have when it comes to the homeless? Are they more lenient when it comes to enforcing the law?

The Police are more inclined to use violence /force with homeless individuals.

23. What’s the most common misconception about homelessness?

People choose to be homeless

People who are homeless are lazy

People are criminals or addicts or mentally ill

24. What are the impacts of homelessness on children?

Children are vulnerable and the effects of homelessness are detrimental to children. Often they are taken into care by the Ministry of Children and Families

25. How do you think people who are not homeless view people who are homeless?

They are criminals, addicts or mentally ill

26. What is the hardest thing about being homeless?

Trying to keep your dignity

Carrying all of your possessions around with you

Being hungry

Being cold

27. What are funding sources for shelters and program?

Shelters are usually funded by BC Housing

Most shelters and programs have a combination of funding : private donations, Provincial, Federal, Municipal and Health

28. What are some common health problems relate to homelessness?

Chronic disease such as HIV/HepC, diabetes, foot issues (street feet), bronchial infections, open wounds and sores, malnutrition

 

– Homeless 1 and Homeless 5

How YOU Can Help End Homelessness

Ending homelessness is such a huge task it definitely cannot be solved in one day. Homelessness has been an issue for centuries and we are no where near finding a solution but we are a lot closer than we were. Many people want to help end homelessness but because it is such a broad topic the question everyone has is how do I help and where do I start? Many of the things you can do does not have to be huge even just simply volunteering can help a tremendous amount. Taking an evening or overnight shift, help by taking clerical work such as answering phones, typing, filing, and sorting mail. Help build or fix houses or shelters. Going to a shelter and spending time with the homeless people can really help you learn their stories or even teaching them your hobbies and learning some of theirs. Another thing you can do is advocate. Respond to NCH’s legislative alerts. These alerts give the most up-to-date information about what is happening in Congress affecting homelessness and poverty on a national level, and what you can do about it. To receive or follow NCH’s legislative alerts, visit http:// www.nationalhomeless.org/alerts.html. If you’re more of the type that wants to help but not get a lot of attention on yourself you can donate clothes, books, homeless survival kits, also you can organize a food bank to donate to the shelters. Sometimes you want to help a problem but you think what can I do, even if I try it’s not like I can make a difference. If this is what you think than you’re wrong, even doing the smallest thing like get a group of friends together and make some sandwiches and go down and hand them out can make a big difference in someone’s life. Doing something is better than doing nothing, remember even the smallest gesture can make a huge difference.

  • Homeless 2

 

 

Causes and results of child homelessness

Three out of five homeless people are parents, and half of these parents care to a child 17 or younger. Only one in four of these children will end up living with their parents. These kids are much more likely to experience difficulties earlier on in life, physical, cognitive, and emotional. If not tackled properly, child homelessness will lead to adulthood homelessness and eventually serious health issues such as drug addiction, alcohol addictions, and mental health disabilities. Most of these childhood and youth homeless issues are fuelled by poverty, not delinquency, and due to rising numbers in Langley. There is currently no youth shelter, only adult shelters.

Without any research my initial thought is that homelessness is pretty much a poverty cycle. Which means its that much harder to actually stop but it is not impossible. To end this cycle you must have shelters that also act as a rehab facility. If these homeless people have some place that they can get clean and try to return back to society they might be able to get a minimum paying job. The only problem is some owners are a little hesitant to hire an ex addict which now limits them getting even a minimum wage job. We feel that if more people stopped judging others because of some one of the mistakes they have made than maybe some of these homeless people we feel like trying to get better because they feel that they actually have a chance.

-Homeless 3

Homelessness in Langley B.C.

  1. Hey there world, we are a group of grade 12 kids from Walnut Grove Secondary School and we have been assigned to do a project on the increase of homelessness in the lower mainland. We have begun our research and we have learned that there are 68 shelters in the lower mainland and 8 are drop in shelters . The main shelter in Langley is the Gateway of Hope, they provide a hot meal and a warm bed along with the Opportunities Program. The Opportunities Program is a program that helps the homeless get rid of their addictions and help them to reintegrate back into society. As this blog continues we have multiple students with access to this account so they can post about their progress and what they have researched. These students will be numbered, Homeless 1, 2,3,4, and 5. We would love to hear any advice and feedback you have on our topic.  –  Homeless 2.