Month: August 2017

Working Close To Home

My Home
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home…especially when it has an impact on your ability to hold down a job! Image from Google Maps

Caution: Coarse Language

I’m still trying to find a place to move to before the mass September 12th eviction, but let’s face it, it’s tough to find a landlord who will take me as a tenant without stable employment.

I can’t fault them for their reluctance.  If our positions were reversed, I would be very leery about taking any tenant without a guarantee they will pay their rent on time, if not skip out without paying any arrears.

This segues perfectly to the point of having a rent guarantor. Do I have one like I did when I moved into my current place? The answer is yes, and it’s the same people: members of my family who cover my current rent.  They are committed to handling the rent of whatever place I move to.

Convincing a potential landlord  to accept a rent guarantor is tougher than you think, however. The people who advertise an available room are not mind-readers. There’s no way to validate the fact I have people who will cover the rent.  In fact, going back to the switcher-roo example from before, anyone saying to me they have a rent guarantor in lieu of employment to cover the rent sounds like a bullshit story. A really bad one at that.

Gainful employment ensures the rent is paid on time, true, but a roof over one’s head to sleep  and have shelter from the elements ensures stable on-the-job performance, or at least a successful job search that will lead to such. I can tell you from experience it is murderously difficult to look for work while under the influence of lack-of-REM sleep. Without a good night’s sleep, it’s tough to focus on what needs to get done. It’s hard to concentrate on answering an interviewer’s questions to his/her satisfaction while not looking like Keith Richards after a late night bender. I can’t project a positive image during my 30-second stump speech.

Simply put, the chances landing a job that pays the rent will be significantly reduced because I don’t have a place to stay. These two issues cannot be treated as separate ones.

It is for this reason that any strategic action plan on combating homelessness and unemployment must consider this causality or the plan will fail miserably.

Thanks for reading!


Nothing To Celebrate

Pixton_Comic_Room_For_Improvement_by_Moggie (1)

July 1st, 2017 was Canada’s 150th birthday, and people found time to celebrate.

Had they tried to find a reason to celebrate instead, they would have been confounded in the attempt.

I know I’m going to get flak for being a Debbie Downer about this, but I take pride in being a realist. Canada has problems, the most serious of which are in this Pixton comic I made:

Homelessness and lack of affordable housing: The numbers below (2016 report):

  • 235,000: Estimated number of people who are homeless in Canada annually.
  • 35,000: Estimated number of people who are homeless in Canada on a given night.
  • 150,000: Approximate number of people who access emergency shelters in Canada annually.
  • 50,000: Estimated number of people who are “hidden homeless” — defined as those without homes of their own who lean on friends or family for shelter — on any given night.
  • 4 million: Number of bednights, defined as nights during which a shelter bed is occupied, each year across Canada.
  • $105.3 million: Amount the federal government spends annually on the Homeless Partnering Strategy, which is designed to prevent and reduce homelessness.
  • 82,380: People who found more stable housing as a result of the Homeless Partnering Strategy.

are damning. We price homes — a basic essential — like a luxury item. Are you aware that home mortages in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal cost more than the longest ocean liner world cruise offered? Madness!

Unstable Employment: Temporary Foreign Workers, a shot work-life balance from the demand by Corporate Canada to do more with less people and pay, a low labour participation rate, part time work and full time work with less and less benefits now becoming the norm is killing is literally and figuratively each and every one of us.

Crumbling Infrastructure:  It takes longer for us to get to and from work. We now see more occurrences of power outages and floods after a violent storm. Hospitals are now stricken with disease outbreaks. Wait times for specialists and getting needed treatment for cancer and AIDs are lengthening. These are the ingredients for a perfect storm that will decimate society unless we act now to fix it.

Poverty: Salary increases have slowed yet the cost of living goes up and up. The list of medical procedures once covered by government health care is shrinking, yet your tax dollars go up and up with no change in the ROI. The rise of the precariat are the fragile bricks of a weak economy that will only increase more government spending.

Social Enclaves: Little Italy. China Town. Middle Eastern neighbourhoods with stores that serve food labelled in Urdu. The hyphenated Canadian and Justin Trudeau’s plans to make Canada a post national country. The alt-right VS the alt-left. Faith factions demanding the separation of state and religion to disappear. It seems no one wants to be Canadian, and the one thing we seem to have in common is our willingness to build walls based on ideology, race, faith, class, and gender. How can we be stand united as a nation when we seek to atomize ourselves into ever smaller groups?

Dishonest Government: Liberal, Tory, same old story. When was the last time we had a government that actually kept its promises and worked for the people instead of lobbyists for big business and special interest groups? Why are we spending millions of dollars on art that is not really art while basic needs such as housing and proper medical care for all are being ignored? It’s gotten to the point where government justifies their dishonesty rather than denying it like they used to do in the past.

High Taxes:  It’s a given we need taxes to pay for the things we take for granted, especially those things that keep us warm, safe, and connected with each other. Having said this, one would think the amount of taxes we pay would reflect the quality of services we receive but there’s increasing evidence that’s not the case. In my situation. I’ve hit nothing but walls when I’ve tried to access social assistance and employment placement programs to return back to financial self-reliance and sustainability. I don’t qualify because I’m either not completely destitute or the wrong gender and skin color, or the damned career program is simply not covered. I get a Volkswagen Beetle at the cost of a Limousine.

We’ve done well but the wheels are going off the train of progress and the road map for a better future has been misplaced somewhere in the cab. We’ve lost focus. The concept of a compassionate society, a Canadian invention, has been forgotten in the name of greed, power, and glory. We worship false gods in music, entertainment, and sports and attempt to emulate their lifestyles that is both hedonistic and destructive.

We can do better than this. Let’s find a reason to celebrate the next Canada Days ahead.

Let’s make Canada a better country.

Thanks for reading.