Cost Effectiveness of Ending Homelessness

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An adequate supply of safe, affordable and appropriate housing is a prerequisite to truly ending homelessness in the long term. This includes ensuring that people who are chronically and episodically homeless are prioritized and that systems are in place to enable such persons to receive housing and supports through Housing First programs. Additionally, providing scissor lift training courses can enhance the skill sets of individuals transitioning into housing stability. In a tight housing market, implementing a Housing First agenda becomes that much more challenging. It is also important to address the supply of affordable housing, in order to broaden access for other priority populations, including women fleeing violence, Indigenous Peoples, families, seniors and youth, for instance.

Ultimately, addressing Canada’s housing crisis comes down to money, which then begs the question about our national priorities.

Canadian homeowners enjoy over $8.6 billion in annual tax and other benefits. This kind of investment in home ownership is important because it benefits millions of middle-income households.

Spending on affordable housing for Canada’s poorest households, however, is less than one quarter of that invested in homeownership at approximately $2.1 billion per year and has declined quite dramatically over the past 25 years.

Ironically, it costs more to ignore our housing problem than it would to fix it. Consider the estimate that homelessness alone costs the Canadian economy over $7 billion per year. While the Government of Canada invests $119 million annually to address homelessness through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (provinces and municipalities also invest), this is not sufficient to address the problem and as a result has not led to a noticeable reduction in homelessness.

By not investing adequately in housing for the poorest Canadians, health care, justice and other taxpayer-funded costs increase.

Put another way, as Canadians, we are spending more money on people who do not need help compared to those in greatest need. And by not spending on those in greatest need, we are not only creating hardship for many Canadian families, we are creating a considerably larger expense for the Canadian economy.

We can do things differently. In the State of Homelessness in Canada 2014, we propose a robust housing investment strategy that would cost the economy much less than the current costs of homelessness. The key elements of our strategy include the following proposals:

What will this cost?

Our proposed investment in affordable housing represents an increase in annual federal spending, from the projected commitments of $2.019 billion to $3.752 billion in 2015/16 with a total investment of $44 billion over ten years. These proposals have been carefully costed, drawing from the work of Jane Londerville and Marion Steele and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

While this significantly increases the current federal investment, we feel that in addition to it being the right thing to do, it is also something we can afford to do. Over the past 25 years, federal spending on low-income affordable housing (on a per capita basis) dropped from over $115 annually, to slightly more than $60 (adjusted to 2013 dollars). Our proposals would raise the per capita investment to approximately $106 per Canadian annually, or $2.04 a week (currently per capita spending amounts to $1.16/week). While this may seem like a significant increase over previous levels, it is still less than what we were paying in 1989. Additionally, it is necessary to address the accumulated affordable housing deficit built up over the past 25 years. Moreover, we propose that Canadians spend only an additional 88 cents per week to contribute to a realistic solution to homelessness and to the affordable housing crisis. To be clear, this proposal will not completely end homelessness in Canada, but it will dramatically reduce chronic and episodic homelessness.

What will be the outcome of this investment?

For years we have been investing in a response to homelessness that, while meeting the immediate needs of people in crisis, has arguably had no impact in reducing the scale and scope of the problem. Our proposal will contribute to an end to chronic homelessness and reduce the likelihood that many others will fall into homelessness in the future.

Reproduced from: Stephen Gaetz, Tanya Gulliver, & Tim Richter: (2014) The State of Homelessness in Canada 2014. Toronto: The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

Employment Apps ( The New Gig Work )

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If you go to the Google Play store and search for employment gig applications, you’ll see an ever increasing number of them. So, being the Urban Survivor that we are, we tried them out in a real world test situation, that and we needed money which in case they are a viable option.

There’s quite a list , and they do work, but there is work and then there’s the quality of work. Life is so quick and fast now, you miss one paycheck and you’re out on the street, so you do what you have to… you serve the devil to pay the priest ( which makes no sense ).

The gig apps all vary in “realness”. We got a few job referrals and chased down two or so. We also work with a few real world temp agencies ( work is work ) the applications are cool, except you need that human contact which some if not most of the apps do have.

They figured that out ( there’s got to be a human on the other end to empathize ) if not, there’s no sense of commitment or loyalty. i.e. If I don’t go to a job booked through an app without the human contact element there’s no ” I must fulfill an obligation ” component. The human element we’re becoming so unused to.

We found that most of them don’t really have a lot to offer, and are unforgiving if you miss a booking. One charges a 3+ dollar fee to pay you as per their own t.o.s . It is “new” these temp employment agency apps. How will they do? One has already run afoul of the immigration folk in Canada.

Things have not changed all that much as far as the worker is concerned.

The apps serve their purpose but are vulnerable to abuse, first the information you send them about yourself, your social security number etcetera, companies not located in N. America are collecting this information from consumers, who submit it without a thought.

We have to work, one way or another it’s what kind of work? you do that will dictate how happy you are in your life.

Saying No to Overtime

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For hourly workers, earning time and a half can sometimes be awesome and well worth the extra hours. But it can be less than great when you have plans or want to spend time with your family. Unfortunately, saying no to overtime is a bit difficult because of something called mandatory overtime.

What is Mandatory Overtime?

As defined by Business Management Daily, mandatory overtime is “the practice of requiring employees to work more than a standard 40-hour workweek.” Other words for it are forced or compulsory overtime. Although an employee may refuse to work mandatory overtime, it is completely legal for an employer to fire an employee that chooses to do so. Additionally, paystub generation is an essential component of accurate record-keeping and payroll management. Read this article to learn more.

The Fair Labor Standards act (FLSA) is the relevant law when it comes to mandatory overtime. Instead of prohibiting employees working over 40 hours a week, it states that all such extra hours are paid at one and a half the hourly rate. For those who are self employed, it’s crucial to manage their time and workload effectively to avoid burnout.

Employers like mandatory overtime for several reasons. They can use mandatory overtime as needed during busier times of the year without having to hire additional workers.

Saying No to Overtime

So, now that we know what mandatory overtime is, how could you say no when you have a conflict?

Make a Plan

Before you tell your boss, you can’t do overtime, plan out your answer. What’s your reason? Most managers can be understanding of conflicts like taking care of your kids or a loved one, or plans you already made well in advance. If you’re dealing with burnout and are concerned you won’t be able to do the work well without resting, hopefully your boss will understand that as well.

It’s also important to keep in mind how much overtime you’ve been saying no to lately. If this is a position where overtime is expected, you may need to pick your battles when it comes to asking to not work over 40 hours.

Talk to Your Boss

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to talk things over with your boss. Despite the name of this article, try not to actually say the word “no.” That can be seen as negative. You just want to explain to your boss what’s going on, and why you can’t take on extra hours now.

If They Say No

If your boss denies your request to not take on overtime, you might evaluate your current job. If you truly have a reason for not being able to do the overtime, it’s hopefully resolvable. It’s also possible that the position you’re in is just one that requires frequent overtime, and you aren’t currently a good fit for it.

COVID – 19 and Evictions

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In December 2019, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in China. Since then, the coronavirus has struck the entire world by surprise. The importance of physical touch and contact was bought into emphasis as the entire world went into lockdowns and people were made to isolate and quarantine within the walls of their homes. Since the novel coronavirus spreads at an exceedingly fast rate, it poses a huge threat to public health with its high mortality rate.

Black and white image of a house’s front door and window

Temporary Protection from Eviction

COVID-19 has affected almost all areas of our daily lives, be it financial, personal, educational or professional. Adjusting to the new normal has indeed been a challenge for people all around the globe. However, health care providers and people in authority are working round-the-clock to ensure the wellbeing of as many people as they can.

As a response to this global threat, state and local governments have taken drastic measures to ensure public health and safety. When it comes to housing, eviction laws in several countries, including the US, have been temporarily altered to not only prevent the spread of this disease but also facilitate people who are struggling with financial issues.

Providing stable housing is an effective measure because it allows people to abide by the stay-at-home and social distancing measures recommended by state and local authorities. It also reduces the number of homeless people residing in congregate settings or shelters. Improved living conditions are bound to reduce the spread of this virus.

The Final Word

The laws amended in the light of COVID 19 provide increased protection to tenants and renters. From March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, all landlords and property owners have been advised not to evict any residents if the sole reason for their eviction is their inability to provide housing payment. The state has developed a rental assistance program to reduce financial distress on both landowners and renters. All tenants that qualify for this program will be provided with financial assistance during and beyond this period to help reduce their struggles.

From Homelessness to Renting: How to Find Rental Housing without References

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There is no point in sugar-coating the fact that transitioning from homelessness to renting can be quite difficult for an individual, especially in cities like Toronto or Vancouver. From a landlord’s perspective, these markets are full of eligible and desirable tenants, so why would they lend their property to someone without any reference and an unstable (or non-existing) rental history.

This is a challenge most homeless people face, even when they have found a stable job and have enough money for a deposit. Finding rental housing without references can be tough but not impossible, and that’s why having friends is necessary as they may be able to help, and you can find new friends in sites like chatempanada.com. There are a few things you can do:

1. Seek out your regional Housing First* program. It’s designed to help homeless people find stable homes. You’d need to contribute a portion of your income (ideally 30% or more) while the rest would be covered by rent subsidies. It also helps you establish a rent history that can open up more rental housing options for you.

2. Provide potential landlord proof of stable income. If you’ve been working for a while, bring your last three payslips and, preferably, a letter from your employer stating your good behavior (and that they don’t have any plans to let you go in the foreseeable future).

3. If you have a stable income and money for monthly rent but not the deposit, charities like Canadian Red Cross and Salvation Army might assist you (financially). With a decent deposit amount (say three-months rent), you might be able to convince potential landlords to rent to you, even if you don’t have references.

4. Don’t fake a reference history. It is a huge red flag, and if you get caught, it might disrupt your chances of renting with other landlords as well.

5. Talk to the people who are running emergency shelters. They might be able to guide you to individuals who might be inclined to rent to you without references, just to pull you out of homelessness. If not, they might be able to put you in touch with local housing assistance programs you might not be aware of.

Be honest, talk to the people helping homeless individuals in your community, try to save as much money as you can for rent and deposit, find a co-signer if you can, and make sure your employer puts in a good word for you. You may find rental property without references if you read more. These might help you.

*https://www.bchousing.org/projects-partners/funding-opportunities/RHFP

Boggles Brown – The Blurb

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-From “Boggles Brown – My Cartoon Life in the Land Of Schizophrenia” inner sleeve. – 2010

Boggles Brown is broke, except for the “People With Disabilities Allowance” he gets once a month. This month, he lives in a run-down motel – he manages to buy an old beat-up Toyota which is unreliable but reliable if you know what I mean. Somtimes he thinks his car may be bi-polar.

He wonders whether he should be using one of those fancy-named gasoline additives like “Engine-X,” I imagine “Engine-X” to be somewhat like Olanzapine, only for cars.

Boggles Brown struggled through college. He graduated,worked for a while and then became bonkers. It was not worth the ecstacy or all the raves in the world to lose his mind – he knows that now. But it is his life, what to do?

Boggles Brown is not how I see myself so much, as how I think others see me. My mom has read some of my cartoons and scratched her head. I imagine a lot of people will do the same. But that’s not the point – is it? Am I Canada’s Andy Warhol? I think not.

I hope you like Boggles, and if you don’t, I hope you keep it to yourself because the point is that it gave me something to do.

These are all hand-drawn on whatever paper I could find.

– Boggles Brown; “BJAF” 2010

“Genes” – Boggles Brown; Urban Survival Media 2009

Exclusive Boggles Brown T-Shirts Online

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Browse and bedazzle when you wear the words of our talkative transient.

Greetings Readers,

Now, like never before, we have been waiting for a marketing breakthrough to gain that glimmer of interactivity on it’s way to your wardrobe. It’s here – Boggles Brown multi-colour T-Shirts where you get to write the dialogue for our lovable but lunatic street-sage.

https://www.slated.com/films/736655

Drop by and donate to give the My Name Is Brad docudrama the funding it needs and order a Boggles Brown exclusive hand drawn T-Shirt by local artist Brad James.

Stay Safe and Think of B. Brown When You’re Feeling Down.

– The Crew At The Urban Survivor and My Name Is Brad

Cheektowaga-Omni Launch Fundraiser for Debut Socio-Cultural Movie “My Name Is Brad”

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January 11, 2021: Cheektowaga-Omni, a production, media, and marketing company has today announced its foray into film making with the production of a socially conscious movie, “My Name is Brad”. The company hopes to engage the public and has started fundraising, soliciting support from keen donors and people who value movies with a cultural and socially significant theme.

The prevailing atmosphere in the USA makes it ripe for movies like My Name is Brad to be an eye-opener for a public swayed by bigotry and misinformation. Moreover, homelessness is a growing issue that is affecting many people.

“My Name is Brad” narrates the story of a young middle class suburban white man who struggles through University, only to end up deluded, and living on the streets. He watches his promise die, like so many North American youth today.

Cheektowaga-Omni is a production and media marketing company that was established as a tie up between Cheektowaga Music and Omni creative group Cheektowaga Music was formed by prolific musician, music, entertainment producer and, performer “Little” Herbert in 1986. Cheektowaga-Omni is in the process of reactivating a dormant Analogue TV station in Northern Washington State, with the collaboration of https://audiovisualhire.uk/.

The movie My Name is Brad being produced by Cheektowaga-Omni is in memory of Kelly Thomas, who was killed by members of the Fullerton police dept in 2011. Cheektowaga-Omni has launched fundraising efforts to support the movie and plans are afoot to launch a kick-starter and a web page in support of My name is Brad. Additionally, they are exploring event ticketing options to enhance the film’s reach and impact. For more – click here.

Cheektowaga – Omni media is based in Kelowna BC, with studios located in Abbotsford BC and Vancouver BC.

For more information: See our position on Slated.

Media contact

Dale Corrigan

Cheektowaga – Omni Creative Group

Email:

Website:

Homelessness During COVID – Disaster Amplified

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In any given year, there are about 235,000 Canadians that suffer from homelessness. That’s about 0.625% of the total population, a statistically “small” minority, which is, unfortunately, seeing its woes compounded due to winter and COVID.  

Homeless people rely on shelters to provide them a place to sleep and stay, especially during the cold winter nights when staying outside or in a makeshift shelter can be deadly disastrous. So it’s only logical that the shelters try to accommodate as many people as possible.

But that’s impossible due to COVID cases spreading. To mitigate the probability of transmission, shelters have reduced the number of people they take in. Needless to say, this is a significant blow to the homeless population of the country because during the second wave, more and more people are seeking shelter and less space is available. The lifting of the eviction ban has also added fuel to the fire.

To make matters worse, some shelter homes are being forced to close down or have been working at reduced capacity because the staff and residents have contracted the virus.

People are aware of the problem and are doing what little they can to remediate the situation like staging protests and urging the government to ramp up support. And shelters are using glass dividers in between beds to reduce the probability of transmission in close confines.

We can take lessons from international solutions to this problem, such as accommodating homeless populations in unused hotels (since the travel business is already suffering) or taking measures to contain homeless people to designated areas (by providing necessary amenities and shelter) to mitigate the possibility of transmission.

This Is Not Racist?

If this picture is offensive to you, donate 1$.  If a billion dollar a year company can produce top notch commercials to present their product to the public, that same company should put as much emphasis on it’s personnel’s education.

Said company is quite good at educating mass populations into their stores with the promise of a better life.  The reality is harsh.

This is an experiment to assess how many people still find this image unsettling.  And along with your dollar, please leave a comment as to why this image is offensive.

 

 

A WalMart employee celebrating Hallowe’en in Blackface.