[Fwd: Street Kids Distrust System - Provincial Task Forc]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 12:03:04 -0400


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

> April 17, 1998 London Free Press
>
> STREET KIDS SWELL HOMELESS RANKS, TASK FORCE HEARS
> By Peter Geigen-Miller
>
> They sleep in elevator shafts, on rooftops or huddle in vacant buildings
> when the weather is too cold. They are the hard-core homeless, street kids
> who've dropped through the social safety net to live transient, rootless
> lives. And their numbers are growing, a provincial task force on
> homelessness was told Thursday in London.
> The task force, chaired by Chatham-Kent MPP Jack Carroll, is studying
> homelessness across the province and will make recommendations to Social
> Services Minister Janet Ecker in late May or early June. During their
> London stopover, task force members visited the Sisters of St. Joseph
> Hospitality Centre on Dundas Street, the
> Youth Action Centre in downtown London, Rotholme, a women's and family
> shelter, and the Salvation Army hostel. Later, they met at city hall to
> hear the views of representatives of London organizations that work with
> the homeless. They were
> joined on the tour by staff of city and provincial social services, and
> city councillors Ben Veel and Susan Eagle.
>
> DON'T WANT WELFARE
>
> During the stop at the Youth Action Centre, program co-ordinator Linda
> Carmichael told task force members the hard-core homeless don't want
> welfare. "They want to live independent of the system," she said.  In an
> interview, Carmichael said most young people her organization sees,
> including the homeless, come from "unsafe or
> unhealthy" backgrounds. They may have been abused physically, emotionally
> or sexually, or lived in homes disrupted by substance abuse.  Many have
> lived in poverty or have had involvement with the social services system,
> often at an early age.  They may have been taken away from their families
> because of intervention
> by social service agencies, said Carmichael.
>
> DISTRUST OF SYSTEM
>
> That experience has bred a deep distrust of the system. That's why some
> people live homeless rather than seeking help, she said. The task force was
> told there are no reliable estimates of the number of homeless in London.
> That may change with a survey being completed by the social planning
> council.  Carroll was told the task force will be given the results when
> the survey is complete, expected by early May. London was the ninth city
> visited by the task force, he said. It will
> finish with a Toronto stop. Task force members are Conservative MPPs.
> Joining Carroll on the London stop were Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East)
> and Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre).



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