Header credit: ABC News
WOULD you be able to choose between them? Because I cannot. I may not be homeless but I definitely ain’t rich by any means. I don’t feel like my friends or I should be responsible for handing out our hard-earned cash in order to give homeless people something to eat, or smoke, or snort, or shoot up. Two completely different things happened to me which is sticking out like thorns in my mind and I think telling you about those experiences will help me portray my side of the story.
1. The Facebook Post
I agree completely with my friend Mike. We do need to recognize that our homeless inside of Canada need help, badly. Totally on his side with that. It wasn’t a debate of ‘Who Deserves Help More’- it was just the totally irrationality behind it. Homeless People and Refugees NEED HELP! Not ONE or the OTHER. I understand that people within our borders should have some sort of priority for politicians- and they do already! These are just two completely different issues and shouldn’t of been put together like this in the first place! What’s more important, your starving baby in Canada or one starving in Africa?
I guess it all depends on your own perspective. Those kindhearted Canadians who own that diner and raised that $15,000 for the Syrian refugees shouldn’t be blasted like they have been online! There is something wrong with that! I’m already being literally force-fed this tasteless, meaningless and destructive information anyway on my social media (Facebook) and I don’t think these unintentional racist and xenophobic comments from my friends are acceptable, at all. I thought my friends would be better than this. I cannot understand it.
2. The Homeless Guy
A few nights ago, I was out to dinner with a couple friends of mine. We had a great time and on our way back we were approached by a Homeless Man. I did what I usually do in these situations… I look them right in the eye- and once I get contact I look away- I kept walking down the sidewalk. A friend of mine actually stopped and listened to what he had to say, she then passed him a $5 bill. While this was all happening our third friend was teetering between me and the homeless man, she didn’t know which one of us to choose– Walk away? or Listen?
I found myself arguing with that friend as to why she gave him her money and what she expected would come of that. She just wanted to help him out. I was adamant about how she could help so many more people, instead of just one guy, by donating that money to organizations which are helping out that “community”. Chances are he was just going to spend that $5 on drugs or something to drink- She was determined that he was hungry and would only spend it on food. When the conversation got heated, and eventually ended- I was left unsatisfied, like i couldn’t even talk to my friend about this- it hurt that i came off so ignorant and disgusting to her because I was beating up on her about five measly dollars.
I love the fact that there are people out there, like my friend, who are willing to hand out their own cash that they earned off to another person like that. Pay-it-forward, whatever it is called- that’s amazing. Inside my head though- I’m too bent up on the fact that I need the money that’s in my wallet. I cant just hand this dude my money, because if i do then that’s a day I wont be able to feed myself until pay day. I already have 17% of my pay taken from me by my government to pay for social assistance and universal benefits. 39% of my income goes to my rent, alone. So why now must I then hand out my remaining 44% to these complete strangers who are supposed be getting support from our local governments! That’s where my 17% was going? Isn’t it?
Well No… Actually… Most of our taxes go to the Elderly, Handicapped, Welfare Cases, and then to Schools, Hospitals, and public services like Police and Fire, Etc.. The Homeless(the precarious) are at the absolute bottom of the bracket.
Other transfer paymentsLast year, spending on federal grants, contributions and subsidies added up to $34.9 billion, close to 13 cents of each tax dollar spent. This included:
$6.2 billion in transfers by Indian Affairs and Northern Development for First Nations and Aboriginal peoples;
$6.1 billion in assistance provided by Human Resources and Skills Development in support of learning, skills and employment, and social housing;
$3.5 billion in transfers by the Canada Revenue Agency, which includes transfers made to individuals and corporations through the tax system.
Other funding was provided in support of farmers and other food producers, research and development, infrastructure, regional development, health research and promotion, the arts, amateur sports, international assistance and multiculturalism and bilingualism
Total elderly benefits cost about $40.3 billion, or roughly 14 cents of each tax dollar spent.
Another major transfer to persons is Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Altogether, EI benefits cost over 6 cents of every tax dollar spent.
We’re living through the absolute worst crisis since WW2, yet everyone around me is just trying to turn a blind eye and make it seem like reality shouldn’t be confronted rationally. Instead we should concentrate on a problem that has always existed and invest our time into that.
More research about this issue:
The number of homeless individuals provided with housing and supports:
In the 2011-12 fiscal year, the province committed $38.5 million to support agencies providing shelter spaces. 3,500 emergency shelter spaces in 30 facilities across Alberta.-Govenment of Alberta
2,174 homeless Edmontonians were counted.
46% of those counted were observed to be Aboriginal
223 dependent children and 119 caregivers were counted
An additional 56 youth under the age of 16 without a caregiver were also counted
Roughly half of the total homeless were counted in the street or at an agency (Unsheltered: 1,070).
Resettling the 25,000 Syrian refugees is estimated to cost Ottawa $900 million overall during the first year and $1.2 billion over the next six years. That puts the per capita cost at $25 for the first year (based on a 2014 Canadian population of 36 million), roughly eight times as much as in the U.S.
The U.S. has pledged to accept 10,000 refugees: The annual federal budget for refugee resettlement assistance is $950 million, almost $3 per American (based on a 2014 population of 319 million)
It will cost each Canadian about $25 for the first year; but for the remaining five years it will only cost about $1.15 per year.
Nothing is free and anyone can complain. Instead of choosing sides between these people and who deserves your help more, choose both and you go from there.