[Fwd: EMAIL LETTER -- from Canada's HLN Minister]

Jane Scharf (dn701@freenet.carleton.ca)
Thu, 22 Jul 1999 07:22:57 -0400


>Resent-date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 09:37:23 -0300 (ADT)
>Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 09:19:27 +0000
>Resent-from: Patrick Kerans <kerans@is.dal.ca>
>From: Pat Kerans <kerans@istar.ca>
>Subject: [Fwd: EMAIL LETTER -- from Canada's HLN Minister]
>To: Patrick Kerans <kerans@is.dal.ca>
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>Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 17:13:54 -0400
>From: "David Hulchanski, U of Toronto" <david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>
>Subject: EMAIL LETTER -- from Canada's HLN Minister
>To: "HOMELESSNESS -- Toronto Research Working Group"
> <david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>,
> "Toronto Disaster Relief Committee" <david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>
>Cc: bradsc@parl.gc.ca, min.labour-travail@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca
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>X-From_: david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca Tue Jul 20 17:15:20 1999
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>
>
>    "I wish to assure you that the Government of Canada is deeply
>concerned for less fortunate Canadians who find themselves in this
>tragic situation."
>
>............................
>
>Whenever I distribute something mentioning the federal homelessness
>Minister Bradshaw, I send her a copy.
>
>Finally, today, I get an email from her. At first I thought she was
>going to comment on the material I have sent out.  But no. As you
>will see below, it is a form letter from her staff.  Everyone gets a
>letter like this if you write to her.
>
>Our tax dollars at work.  Civil servants use their creative energy to
>help make the minister and the government look good -- make things
>appear different from what they actually are -- and at our expense.
>
>The United States has a special $1.2 Billion program just for special
>programs for the homeless.  Not enough but ... With Canada at about
>10% of the US, this would be an annual $120 million program here.
>
>Instead, look at the things the civil servants mention in the letter.
> Until this year, RRAP was never referred to as a homelessness
>program.  Now many things are being given that label.  $1.9 million
>for shelters for family violence victims -- an average of $190,000
>per province!  The feds have a budget of $183 Billion, with a surplus
>of several billion.
>
>There is a bright side -- for some at least. Yet more well housed
>people (usually homeowners) have nice new jobs "living off the avails
>of homelessness."  They will never be among the "less fortunate
>Canadians" the government is concerned about. This is at least, using
>their definition of programs for the homeless, a homelessness
>prevention program.
>
>We have yet to see a single homeless person benefit from the
>appointment of a federal HLN minister and the creation of yet another
>central bureaucracy.  The Minister keeps mentioning all the resources
>19 ministries are providing to her. We have a junior minister and a
>growing number of civil servants with all the overhead they need
>furthering their careers.
>
>__________________
>
>from the Oxford English Dictionary:
>
>AVAIL:     beneficial effect; advantage, profit.
>TO AVAIL OF:  to benefit oneself or profit by; to take advantage of.
>
>Milton, 1667:  "Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,
>places, and titles."
>_________________
>
>
>------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
>Date sent:      	Tue, 20 Jul 1999 11:49:28 -0400
>To:             	<david.hulchanski@utoronto.ca>
>From:           	<min.labour-travail@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca>
>Send reply to:  	<min.labour-travail@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca>
>Subject:        	Homelessness in Canada
>
>Dear Mr. Hulchanski:
>
>Thank you for your Internet message regarding homelessness in Canada.  I
>appreciate that you took the time to write with your concerns for homeless
>Canadians as well as your suggestion to alleviate their plight.
>
>First of all, I wish to assure you that the Government of Canada is deeply
>concerned for less fortunate Canadians who find themselves in this tragic
>situation.  That is why we are committed to work in partnership with other
>levels of government and local communities so that together we may develop
>meaningful, practical solutions that will be of lasting benefit to homeless
>persons.
>
>However, we recognize that the problem of homelessness is a complex one, of
>which affordable housing is only one part.  The reasons why people become
>homeless can be a combination of individual circumstances--family violence,
>mental illness, developmental disabilities, drug abuse--along with larger
>problems of society such as poverty, not having access to helpful programs,
>or the supply of low-cost housing.  Various combinations of these factors
>may be at play across Canada where homelessness exists, requiring
>individual solutions.  Furthermore, we must work to address all facets of
>the situation so that initiatives we may take with respect to shelter and
>low-income accommodation are not simply cosmetic.  Policy and programs must
>be developed not only to alleviate homelessness, but to break the cycle of
>homelessness as well.
>
>With respect to accommodation, the Government of Canada has taken specific
>actions to help address emergency situations such as those brought on by
>harsh winter weather.  The Department of National Defence (DND), for
>example, made available an armoury in the Toronto area as a source of
>shelter for homeless persons while longer-term facilities were being
>prepared.  Furthermore, DND can make facilities available as required on an
>
>.../2
> -2-
>
>
>emergency basis across Canada.  Many other federal departments such as
>Human Resources Development Canada, along with Public Works and Government
>Services are working together to help alleviate homelessness and I am
>responsible for coordinating these efforts to ensure they work in harmony
>with initiatives taken at the provincial and community levels.
>
>The Government of Canada announced on December 18, 1998, that we
>would provide an additional $50 million this year for housing
>renovation programs targeted to low-income Canadians and the
>homeless.  Beyond this commitment, the Government of Canada spends
>$1.9 billion every year towards 645,000 social housing units for low-
>income Canadians.  Approximately $11 million more is contributed each
>year to affordable rental and rooming houses.  The rooming house
>program is considered especially important for those at risk of
>becoming homeless.  A further $1.9 million a year provides for
>construction and upgrading of shelter units for victims of family
>violence who might otherwise become homeless.  As well, through the
>Canadian Centre for Public-Private Partnerships, 2,600 affordable
>housing units were provided in 1998 and another 3,000 are now being
>developed.
>
>In partnership with Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Canada
>Mortgage and Housing Corporation continues to provide additional funds for
>housing on reserves, making it possible for more Aboriginal people,
>including youth, to remain in their communities if they wish to do so.  As
>well, in April 1999, CMHC extended the Homegrown Solutions initiative which
>will receive $1,050,000 in funding over the next three years.  This
>initiative, which works in partnership with housing associations, helps
>communities and organizations develop affordable, practical housing
>solutions.
>
>The Government of Canada continued building on these efforts in the 1999
>federal budget by putting more money in the pockets of people increasingly
>vulnerable to becoming homeless, such as low-income families with children.
> The 1999 budget also included an increase of $11.5 billion over five years
>in the money we transfer to the provinces which will allow them to spend
>more on the kinds of social services needed by homeless persons.
>Furthermore, to help youth at risk, including homeless youth, we are
>providing $50 million this year, $75 million next year and $100 million
>every year thereafter to the renewed Youth Employment Strategy, a program
>that helps young people to get the skills and work experience they need to
>get that important first job.
>
>.../3
> -3-
>
>
>We will continue working in a variety of ways to address the longer-term
>issue of poverty to prevent people from becoming homeless at all.  To help
>us decide on the best steps to take that will make a real difference in the
>lives of homeless Canadians, this summer I am  visiting communities across
>the country that are affected by the problem.  The factors that generate
>homelessness in one city may vary from those that exist in another.  I am
>meeting with individuals, community groups and all levels of government to
>explore ideas on how to develop a coordinated response to this urgent
>matter.  In searching for solutions, it is necessary that all governments
>work together to find the right range and mix of support that are required
>by the different types of people in need.
>
>I have taken careful note of your support for Motion M-604 introduced
>in Parliament by Libby Davies, M.P., and I appreciate having the
>benefit of your views.  In developing our response to the
>homelessness problem, we will consider the broad range of ideas and
>suggestions that have been put forward, together with our findings
>from this summer's consultations with Canadians across the country.
>I am pleased that you have taken the time to share with me your
>thoughts on how best to approach this serious situation.
>
>I appreciate the concern that prompted your Internet message and I thank
>you for taking the time to write.
>
>Sincerely,
>
>
>Claudette Bradshaw
>