Homeless people’s stories

A new book published in Canada presents the experience of the homeless in that country in their own words. The collection was the brainchild of Cathy Crowe:

“Crowe is a street nurse and homeless activist who has worked with Toronto’s homeless population for the past 18 years. She also co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) in 1998, which promptly declared homelessness in Canada a national disaster. Most recently she has received the Atkinson Charitable Foundation Economic Justice Award, and works from a base at Sherbourne Health Centre in downtown Toronto.

Crowe had an epiphany while watching the reports on television of the ‘Ice Storm Disaster’ of January of 1998. She describes quite poignantly how she decided to take a leave from her job as a street nurse to go and help out with the disaster. And then the light dawned: ‘I realized that the images on television that had moved me were the daily, hellish circumstances of homeless people’s lives. . . . Homelessness is a man-made disaster.’ What Crowe also realized was that people did not respond to the homelessness disaster in the same way they do to a natural disaster.

Dying for a Home is an anthology of the stories of 10 (11 including Crowe) homeless activists many of whom resided in Tent City – a squat on a piece of land near the Toronto waterfront from 1998 to 2002. Tent City existed for almost five years and at its peak there were almost 100 people living there.

The contributors to this anthology talk about their lives and the trajectory that brought them to Toronto and then homelessness. They also share their hopes and dreams of having a home and the frustration they feel with governments who remain blind to their plight.”

Read the rest here.

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