CANADA: Adolescent Homeless - P.S. re City of Victoria (fwd)

Leslie Schentag (
Sat, 11 Jul 1998 19:07:26 -0700 (PDT)

This is a reply, I had from Geneva Hagen.
With specifics about Victoria


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 18:54:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Geneva Hagen <>
To: "W. Robert Arnold" <>,
    "Jack J. Sarday" <>,
    Results Chat <>,, Daniel Miller <>,
    Leslie Schentag <>
Cc: Amnesty International <>,
    Esquimalt Mayor Ray Rice <>,
    "Hon. Mr. Clark" <>,
    "Hon. Mr. Prime Minister" <>,
    Mayor Bob Cross <>, Neil Boyd <>,
    Office of Liberal Caucus <>,,
    Svend Robinson <>,
    CBC National News <>,
    CFAX Radio <>, CHEK-TV Victoria <>,
    CTV News <>, Editor Monday Magazine <>,
    Esquimalt News <>,
    "J. Knox Victoria Times Colonist" <>,
    Times-Colonist <>,
    Vancouver Province <>,
    Vancouver Sun <>,
    Stephen DeMeulenaere <>,
    Wally DuTemple <>,
    Don Bohun <>, Glenn Schentag <>,
Subject: CANADA: Adolescent Homeless - P.S. re City of Victoria

	I was pleased to be copied Leslie Shentag's letter and the article
below it regarding what UNICEF's latest Progress of Nations Report has to
say about the plight of street kids in Canada. 
	Many cities in the U.S. and Canada have been taking punitive
actions against the penniless and homeless which actions fly in the face
of any reasonable definition of a civilized society. Do the people who are
proposing stiff fines for panhandling or "street camping" have any real
comprehension of what the poor have to deal with? Let's put the situation
in perspective with a few statistics from the latest issue (July 9, 1998) 
of Monday Magazine: 

	City [of Victoria] Gives Big Raises to Managers

	- Top bureaucrats got huge pay increases last year.
	- The biggest raise went to a corporate service manager 
	  whose pay jumped from $98,000 to $115,000.  
	  Three other officials got $3,000 increases to $107,000. 
	- In contrast, city union members got 1%.
	- The number of city staff paid $50,000 or more jumped by 10% 
	  last year to 390, and their total pay increased by 11%.
	- But thanks to the cost-slashing at the bottom ranks, 
	  the city's total salary bill increased by less than 2%.
	- Next year as many as 70 full-time jobs could be going. 
	  Some city programs could be cut by as much as 17.5%.

	The article goes on to name names and salary figures; interested
parties can pick up a copy of Monday Magazine and read for themselves.
	The author, Russ Francis, says the city of Victoria is expecting
major financial shortfalls next year as a result of a variety of causes,
including high-interest debt service on money borrowed in the past, and
the fact that city taxes subsidize roads and other services related to
motor vehicles.  Which, in my opinion, are a far greater nuisance - or,
more accurately, hazard - to downtown pedestrians than the street people
	When people at the top make bad decisions, it should not be the
people at the bottom who have to pay the price for it.  If the city of
Victoria has been getting more than its share of economic refugees from
other provinces, to the point where it can no longer provide services for
them all, it should seek financial assistance from the federal government
- not make up special by-laws to persecute the poor and homeless.

	Geneva Hagen
	Victoria, BC
> Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 23:09:22 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Leslie Schentag <>
> To: Homeless Peoples Network <>
> Subject: SK-L: CANADA: Adolescent Homeless (fwd)
> The story speaks for itself.
>  I quite frankly am terribly disgusted with this country, the leaders, the
> general population.
>  I watch TV sometimes and every once in awhile I see these infomercials
> about the poor starving kids in some South African Country. about how it
> will take only $12.00 a month to feed, clothe, and house this poor child. 
>  But the next day, as I am walking down the street, I see a young boy or
> girl sitting on the street begging for money, or other kids, taking
> advantage of the lights to offer someone who has a dirty window, to clean
> it and therefore make it safer for other drivers and pedestrians on the
> street and then I see the reactions of of some of the drivers, yelling at
> him, calling him a lousy no-good scumbag for wanting to clean his window
> for a few coins he may have in his pocket.
>  Chased away by the police, if caught, given a ticket. If the person can't
> pay the ticket he's thrown in jail..for what....TRYING TO MAKE AN HONEST
> you?? hassles.fines.beatings.jail
> And yet these same people are the first ones to whine and snivel about how
> the youth crime has risen and these kids are more violent.
> Take a look around...maybe if you treated the children better..
> They would also treat you better...(maybe..because it might just be too
> late)
> Leslie Schentag
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 19:03:10 GMT-5
> From: Streetkid-L Distribution <>
> To:
> Subject: SK-L: CANADA: Adolescent Homeless
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Streetkid-L: Promoting awareness of the plight of street children
> and other children at risk worldwide. Your participation is welcome.
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> See:
> Wednesday July 8, 7:06 pm Eastern Time
> Canada's adolescent homeless on rise
> By Viva Press 
> TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) - Adolescents and young families are being
> hit hardest by the growing rate of homelessness in Canada, according
> to ``The Progress of Nations'' annual report by the United Nations
> Children's Fund (UNICEF), which was released on Wednesday.
> Young people between the ages of 10 and 19 total 4.5 million and
> comprise 13.5 percent of Canada's population.
> The report estimated Canada has roughly 200,000 homeless people, with
> between 5,000 and 12,000 in Toronto, the nation's largest city.
> By comparison, the report estimated that there are some three million
> homeless people in the 15 member countries of the European Union and
> about 750,000 homeless in the United States.
> There are no official statistics for the homeless in Canada.
> ``We have very little in terms of data in Canada about homelessness.
> We need more data,'' Dawn Walker, executive director of the Canadian
> Institute for Child Health told Reuters. ``Right now we're working on
> anecdotal information.''
> In Toronto, 6,500 people stayed in emergency shelters on a typical
> night in late 1997 -- a jump of two thirds in a single year, the
> UNICEF report.
> ``Canada's homeless used to be older men who often had alcohol and
> drugs problems,'' said Walker. ``What's happening now is that that
> trend is changing and we're getting more and more young people, more
> people with young families.''
> Welfare cuts by Canada's federal and provincial governments and the
> end of rent control in major cities have made it increasingly tough
> for the poor to get affordable housing and to qualify for programmes
> that might keep them off the street.
> ``There was no way out,'' Diane Marlow, Minister for International
> Cooperation and Minister Responsible for la Francophonie, said at a
> UNICEF's press conference in Toronto. ``We had a huge deficit, and we
> dealt with that. I think we have to keep working with what we have.''
> Marleau also urged all levels of government to work toward eradicating
> Canada's homeless problem.
> Canada, the United States, Britain and Australia are identified in the
> UNICEF report as countries engaged in what it called the
> ``demonization of caring government,'' because of declining public
> investment in social housing and the waning involvement of local
> authorities and nonprofit organizations in trying to solve the
> homeless problem.
> ``We've always had people on the street but it used to be kids who did
> it in the spring and summer months and it was an interim part of their
> lives,'' observed Walker. ``What we're now seeing are young people who
> are on the street for many many years. It's becoming much more their
> way of life.''
> According to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, every
> child has the right to ``a standard of living adequate for the child's
> physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.''
> By definition, homelessness denies all these rights. 
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Streetkid-L Resource Page:
> Listowner:, John Brown University
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++