I really don’t know how Jennifer stays positive. She is disabled in a wheelchair, and she is homeless and has been for many years!
It was winter and cold when I first met Jennifer. It took me a moment to remember, but Jennifer remembered right away. Two years ago I met Jennifer and interviewed her for Invisible People. You can watch that interview here.
I happened to connect with Jennifer last summer too, but she was not in the mood to go on camera. We talked for a bit. I love catching up with people I know but HATE that they are still on the streets homeless. It really messed me up seeing her still on the streets last year. This year I am wrecked.
I am not a medical professional, but you don’t have to be an expert to know she is vulnerable. She is dying on the streets of Toronto! She needs housing and support services NOW!
This last winter was the 5th winter that Jennifer slept outside in Toronto. In a wheelchair! Part of the reason is the lack of wheelchair-accessible shelters and support services for her to go inside. The other reason is homeless services are broken! If a city as wonderful as Toronto cannot house one young disabled woman in a few years’ time – something is broken! Very broken!
I am sure some people reading this who work in homeless services may say Jennifer is “service-resistant.” But that is just an excuse because there is no such thing! Services are people resistant is the real truth! The reason some homeless people do not accept the help being offered is that what we may perceive as help may not be what they need or want! Instead of blaming the person experiencing homelessness, we should listen to them to learn and then provide services that actually fit their needs and wants!
I am far from an expert when it comes to homeless services, but I know enough to say with all confidence that someone like Jennifer, who is disabled and chronically homeless, should be targeted and housed using any means necessary! Besides being the right moral thing to do – housing Jennifer will save Toronto taxpayers money!
Please watch and share this video and Jennifer’s video from two years ago. If enough people share it then hopefully the right people will see it. People who will get mad enough that a young disabled woman remains on the streets of Toronto and will do something to get her off the streets!