John - Invisible People

John


I was walking in a park near downtown Ottawa, Canada, and started to talk to a small group of homeless people sitting on the lawn. Everyone started to talk about the recent street violence of […]

John

I was walking in a park near downtown Ottawa, Canada, and started to talk to a small group of homeless people sitting on the lawn. Everyone started to talk about the recent street violence of homeless people being attacked for no reason. John (not his real name) showed me photos he took on his cellphone of a blood stained sidewalk after a 60 year-old man was viciously beaten. Another homeless man a few years back was set on fire.

Last few years violence against homeless people has been increasing at an alarming rate in North America. Just today, I was helping one of the most gentle men I have ever met, a kind homeless man in his 60s, who told me about where he can and cannot sleep on the streets. At one point, about a year ago, I found this gentle man after he was released from the hospital. His entire body was black and blue. I have never seen anyone beat up so bad. A few kids beat him so bad he was in the hospital for four days.

We need to stop violence on homeless people. Hate crime legislation is on and off again, and I am not really sure that is the solution. I believe we need more education so today’s youth see homeless people as real people. This website helps, but there is so much more work to be done.

John is an educated man from a good family, but developed addictions. I admire the courage he has to be open and honest with himself. I sure hope John got that apartment and is working towards sobriety. I am proof that people change for the better.

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  • Gboechat1

    Hi,

    I’m Brazilian and after watching the news on CBC.CA/thenational I got interested and opened the blog. I listened it carefully and now I can understand better that some difficulties that homeless people must face day after day are the same regardless with the country is considered developed as Canada or in development as Brazil. Here, homeless people have to deal with crimes, addiction, violence from the Police and other people, some are burnt by middle-class-teenagers etc.I was wondering in using your Blog as a way to call people’s attention to the problem, even if we have been far away for some thousand of miles. By the way, I’m a teacher and I’d like to use the blog as a powerfull tool to encourage students to do their best to help others.

  • Rocket

    hi John. I was on the streets of Ottawa between 2008-2010. Slumlords are a huge problem in Ottawa. Crack shacks everywhere. Police are mean!
    rough town in winter. Poverty pimping Canadian style. lovesandrespectsxoxo Rocket’

  • nikki

    John you are so intelligent as well as articulate….I’m so sorry for your stuggles and wish for you to find a way out.  We’re all flawed to one degree or another and I’m sorry yours have had such a high price.

  • Matthew Kennedy

    Very cool Blog… I have
    a website called, “California Homeless Resources”.

    http://www.homelessresourcesca.org/index.html
    and a blog dedicated to the homeless as well: 
    http://homelessresourcesca.blogspot.com/

  • clifrad

    Where to start?  Help them yes, beat them no.

    Help them…how?  More shelters, more money, and more programs will not solve it.

    So now what?

    I have housed over two hundred homeless over the last 5 years.  I still do.  Only about one in ten want the help the need to be rehabilitated and 100% want someone to pay the bill, and very few want the personal accountability they need for their future.

    So what do we do?

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