The night I met Joseph it was 21 (°F) outside. He has lived outside in Toronto for over 10 years now. Joseph said last year he spent the whole winter outside with temperatures as low as -40. He went on to say, “It’s not like I am doing it on purpose. I have been waiting for a decent place to stay.”
At one time, Joseph was in housing. But the housing was so bad he didn’t feel safe and he walked away from it. When I asked Joseph how services can help someone like himself, he simply responded by getting him a place to live where he feels safe and doesn’t have to fear others.
I know some people think that any housing is better than the streets. I also know that most every community has challenges in finding affordable housing and good landlords that will accept housing vouchers. But putting people into situations that are dangerous to a person’s health or safety has to stop! We can do better. We must do better!
Special thanks to Ve’ahavta’s Mobile Jewish Response to the Homeless.