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Features Fall 2019

Educations fight for people experiencing homelessness

iemason November 28, 2019 62


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Photo from Jazmina Alzaiat via Flikr

The city of Toronto declared an affordable housing crisis in 2018, along with seeing an all time high of people experiencing homelessness.

According to a CCPA study, to afford a one bedroom unit in Toronto, a person would need to make $27.74 per hour. The current minimum wage is set at $14.00 per hour.

It is not a shock to see someone asleep on the street. Why has the image of a person under a thin blanket, with their feet poking out, lying overtop of a grate that provides drafts of warm air, become normalized in Toronto?

There is a stigma around people who experience homelessness, an idea that they did something to end up living without a roof over their head. In reality there can be many factors to lead to a person becoming homeless, such as a sudden loss of income, and not having a support system.

The waitlist to get into a shelter can be up to 10 years, leading many people no other option than sleeping rough – on the street.

Isaac Coplan is one of three professors at Ryerson University who teaches the interdisciplinary studies course, Homelessness in Canadian Society. Coplan has been an instructor of the course for five years.

Isaac Coplan (left) receiving the Solly Patel Essay Prize at a Ryerson Awards Ceremony in 2011. Coplan currently teaches the Homelessness in Canadian Society at Ryerson University. (Photo retrieved from https://www.ryerson.ca/politics/news-events/archives/pog-2011/)

Coplan shares with people how dehumanized society has made people who experience homelessness and hopes he can help share his passion for the homelessness issue with people, and pass on the message that these are not just homeless people, they are people who experience homelessness.

Listen to the full story below.

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