[Hpn] introduction ab Lanark

Jennifer Tsun elphinseer@perth.igs.net
Wed, 14 Feb 2001 10:27:13 -0500

> Greetings,
> I am new on this list so let me take a moment to introduce myself.
> I have been homeless in the past but thankfully am not now but the
> is unstable and could change.
> When I was homeless, my daughter was very young and sometimes we stayed at
> my mother's sleeping on the couch which some of you would say doesn't
> make us homeless.  However, my mother and I were not getting along at the
> time and so many times I left angry and  not knowing where I was going.
> since I had a station wagon I would go and park somewhere to sleep.  I had
> potty for my little child to use in the car.
> Then we got into public housing in Toronto, not an easy accomplishment.
> There I witnessed men pissing in the stairwells.  No big deal.  I also
> witnessed a grown man sexually assaulting a teenaged girl out behind the
> complex one day.  I then made up my mind to get out of the projects, I
> not see raising my child in such a place.
> In those days, welfare in Ontario was relatively generous and we managed
> a few years in private housing shared accommodation.  However, when my
> roommate turned abusive, my daughter and I ended up leaving Toronto (due
> rising rents) and moving out to the rural parts of eastern Ontario.  We
> lived for 5 years in a house that was making me sick due to allergies and
> finally after much yelling, pleading, crying and carrying on we got into
> CMHC housing which was subsequently turned over to an outfit called
> Aboriginal Housing Services.
> The first time I applied for housing I was told that I would never get it
> because I had only one child.  So by persistence and because of some
> in staff,  I finally got someone to come and interview me.  This person
> assured me that I was going to get housing because I was Native.  Finally
> did.
> But now my daughter is grown and has left the area.  There is no work for
> old ladies like myself and welfare is constantly on my back.  With a
> that is not enough to live on no matter how you slice a penny, I have FIVE
> people at the ss administering my case.  This month alone I have to make 3
> appointments in order to continue receiving the cheque, not to mention
> having to fulfil a community placement.
> It is all very HUMILIATING and there is always the risk that I will lose
> cool and end up in jail.  With public housing if you go to jail or even
> hospital for any length of time, you will lose your housing.  And though
> rent is cheap (geared to income), it is still an unstable situation, month
> to month.
> I have tried to find out if there are actually homeless people in Lanark
> County here.  I know there is no shelter for homeless people but there are
two or
> three shelters for homeless cats and dogs and a shelter for abused women
> which by the way has an incredible amount of rules.  In the past poor
> out here often lived in trailors and shacks with unsafe wood stoves.  You
> would hear of several fires burning out families every winter.  There
> so much of that of late.  But the unemployment/underemployment rate is
> high even though we are one hour from Ottawa where they are in a high tech
boom.  At
> the same time, Ottawa also has a housing crisis because of the influx of
> techies working there which leaves more and more poor people out on the
> streets.
> I have also received reports of homeless Native people being harrassed by
> the Ottawa police who constantly pepper spray and beat people to get them
> move along.
> I imagine you have heard about Toronto's bid for the oh-limpics 2008 and
> that city's efforts to "clean up their streets" Tent city and such...
> One thing about this list, I would like to request that people include
> location in all messages, possibly in the subject line.  It helps to
> the conversation when you just drop into the middle of it.
> Yours in the struggle,
> Jenn Tsun