There’s a new generation of homeless people in Canada, and they’ve taken to social media to share their stories.
The people of Toronto, who are often labelled as the “poor people of Canada,” are taking their plight more public, and have even taken to Facebook to share stories of their own.
The first group to hit the streets, they are the city’s most vocal about their struggles, with a growing number of people in the streets and in shelters.
Some of the people are veterans and are on the streets due to the Veterans Affairs and Public Works cuts, but the group of six to eight are also being treated for mental health issues and depression, said Jason Bourgeois, the director of advocacy and education at the Canadian Association of Community Organizations.
They’re not just being thrown out of their homes, they’re being thrown back into homelessness, he said.
Bourgeois is not one of the hundreds of people who are homeless.
He’s the one who has been out there for six months.
“We’re a community of volunteers, we’re a lot of people with our own lives,” he said, adding that he is not homeless because he can’t afford to stay.
But he does have a lot on his plate.
He’s been in a shelter for six weeks, staying in an empty room on the street.
“I don’t know what my next step is,” he told CBC Toronto.
His wife has also been living on the sidewalk.
She said she has lost her job, her job at a pharmacy, her home, and her car.
“It’s tough, and it’s not easy,” she said.
It’s been six months since she was moved to a shelter in the city, she said, and she is still unsure where she’ll stay for the next month.
But she is not alone.
“For me, it’s been hard, but we have to be brave,” she told CBC.
“If we don’t, there will be another one like us.”
For Bourgeois and the other volunteers, the main challenge is finding housing.
The city has been trying to find ways to get the homeless out of the shelters, and Bourgeois said that’s not always happening.
The city has said it will not offer vouchers to people who have been homeless for more than six months, so the new group of volunteers has been using social media and asking people to call them on the phone, and to call 311 if they need assistance.
“The problem is that when we’re out there, people are scared and don’t feel safe,” he explained.
“And we have no idea where they are, and we’re just not getting help from the city.”
For some of the volunteers, it can be an uphill battle.
One man has been homeless four years.
The man, who does not want to be identified, said he’s homeless because his girlfriend left him and her family for good.
The reason, he explained, is because he was kicked out of his job as a warehouse worker at the mall, and he’s still working at Walmart, which has been closed since July.
He said he has been living in shelters and in a car, and his wife and children are staying with their grandmother, who is also homeless.
It can be very hard for someone who has had a hard time to get through it, he told the CBC.
He wants to get his kids out of there.
“They need me,” he continued.
“You can’t ask me to take my kids out, I don’t have the energy.”
Bourgeois said the people in his group are just as frustrated as him.
“In this country, there are people who work for a living.
We’re not the poor people of the world,” he added.
The volunteers are trying to build a network of support for people who need it.
They’ve put together a website that helps people connect with other homeless people across the city and to shelters.
“People need to find a way to get help,” said Bourgeois.
“These people are just so desperate.”