[Fwd: Loneliness worse than lack of cash to homeless]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 11:57:43 -0400


---------forwarded message---------

> ** results of CMHA and University of Ottawa study
> April 17, 1998
>
> LONELINESS, CASH PERPLEX HOMELESS
> By LAURA BOBAK -- Ottawa Sun
>
> A survey shows 40% of Ottawa's homeless say their biggest obstacle is
> loneliness.
> The survey of 100 homeless people was conducted by the  Canadian Mental
> Health Association and the University of Ottawa for six months ending in
> February.
> The report found that about 20% of the homeless cite a lack of money as
> their most serious problem, while only 15% ranked being homeless as the
> most difficult issue they face. An additional 13% cited the loss of family
> and friends as their
> biggest challenge, and 10% said not being able to get the support they
> needed was the toughest. The survey also asked local homeless people what
> kind of help
> they would need to get off the street. About 77% said they needed help to
> obtain housing, 68% wanted a hand budgeting money, and about 60% need help
> dealing with emotional crises. Of those interviewed, 75% were male and 67%
> were between 21
> and 44, while 19% were under 21 and 14% were over the age of 45.
>
> "If people are able to articulate what they need not to be homeless, we
> need to respond to that," said Joanne Lowe, executive director of the
> Canadian Mental Health Association, adding the survey was a rare
> opportunity for some of the estimated 6,000 local homeless people to be
> consulted about what kind of
> help they need to get off the streets.  "When asked what they need and
> want, they can clearly identify what they are," said Lowe, who presented
> the study's findings to the region's community and social services
> committee yesterday. In response, the committee voted to strike a poverty
> task force. Coun. Diane Holmes also asked staff to begin tracking the
> deaths of homeless people. A regional staff report discussed yesterday said
> about 22 people have died over the past two years as a direct result of
> homelessness, with most of them linked to substance abuse.
>
> Wendy Muckle, of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, said providing
> affordable housing is cheaper than dealing with the social costs of
> homelessness. "We know people who are in housing are healthier and they use
> less services," she said.
> Regional Coun. Alex Munter said more affordable housing would help end
> homelessness, but regional Coun. Dan Beamish said the region can't afford
> to create more social housing than it is already receiving from the
> province through downloading.



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