[Hpn] Toronto Star editorial, May 24, 2004

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Mon, 24 May 2004 04:27:40 -0400


http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic
le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1085310064414&call_pageid=968256290204&col=9683501167
95
May 24, 2004. 01:00 AM

Housing

STREET NURSE, REGENT PARK COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRE
KATHY HARDILL

The main challenge for Canada, in my view, is housing. By this I mean that
everyone in Canada should have a safe, secure place to live that they can
afford.

You might think that because I am a nurse, I would have chosen health as the
main issue, but from where I sit, you cannot have the latter without the
former.

Shamefully, hundreds of thousands of people in this country lack affordable
housing.

Some are doubled up with relatives in cramped high-rise apartments.

Some are living out of their trucks.

Some are forgoing "extras" like medication in order to pay the rent, or
selling off valuables like tools, both of which are examples of desperate
but commonplace strategies that merely delay the inevitable loss of housing.

Our country has the dubious distinction of being the only developed country
without a national housing strategy. What this means is that hundreds of
thousands of us are abandoned to overcrowded 19th-century living conditions
and the diseases they breed, such as tuberculosis, family disruption,
despair, and premature death.

Canada is a rich country. Street nurses like me should be unheard of.

It seems to me that a country's willingness to safely shelter its people is
a measure of its humanity.

Sadly, we fall seriously short in this regard.