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‘Homeless News’ is a source of local, national and international news, insights and information on the issues of poverty, homelessness and social isolation.

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September 2020

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Our eMagazine offers entertaining and informative articles related to the elderly,

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When Family Can't Be There In A Crisis

For decades Henry has lived with his mother. She cares for him and he for her. The arrangement works. That is until she passed away late last year. Since then he has been looking at his options as neighbours look to help. Staying put is not a consideration. The house he has lived in for almost five decades, in the only community he has ever really known, is being sold. Henry must move. The realities of real estate in Toronto are setting in. There is little that Henry can afford, if anything at all, and social services advised him that the wait for an apartment with rent geared to income is ten years or longer. With limited funds and income, Henry, like so many of his peers, is at risk of bei

Dial-Tone Deaf To Homeless Isolation During A Crisis

Being alone or isolated is proven to have a negative impact on health and wellbeing including mental health, especially in the elder population. For an older adult, even one who has never smoked a day in their life, isolation is as unhealthy as chain-smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Earlier this week, Robin Wright of The New Yorker wrote about a 2015 study examining the impact of social isolation, loneliness, and living alone by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Brigham Young University. Holt-Lunstad’s study revealed that "Loneliness increased the rate of early death by 26 percent; social isolation led to an increased rate of mortality of 29 percent, and living alone

How Social Distancing Is Bringing People Closer

Would you know what to do if the paper in the window of this home was not green but red? The green square of paper in the front window of every house on this city street is significant in communicating with neighbours. As is a red square of paper. To passersby, the coloured square notifies neighbours that, in the case of green, all is good. Red alerts others to the need for help. Find a red square in the window and you will also find a note from the resident asking for assistance with shopping, medication and transportation. In response to social distancing and growing fears from COVID-19, one UK man delivered green and red paper squares to the other houses on his street. He wanted vulnerabl

The Health Benefits Of Compassion

Decades of clinical research has focused and shed light on the psychology of human suffering. That suffering, as unpleasant as it is, often has a bright side to which research has paid less attention: compassion. Human suffering is often accompanied by beautiful acts of compassion by others wishing to help relieve it. What led over 12 million Canadians to volunteer in 2013? What propels someone to volunteer serving food at Haven Toronto, pull over on the highway in the rain to help someone with a broken-down vehicle, or feed a stray cat? What is Compassion? The definition of compassion is often confused with that of empathy. Empathy, as defined by researchers, is the visceral or emotional

Making The Most Of Memorabilia

When a retired pro athlete starts selling their stuff, their memorabilia, it can be a sign of money problems. Charles Barkley recently announced that he is selling his 1993 NBA MVP trophy and his ‘92 and ‘96 Olympic gold medals. Is there a problem? The answer would be, yes. The problem is a lack of affordable housing in Barkley’s hometown of Leeds, Alabama. Barkley, whose net worth is estimated at 40 million dollars, is using memorabilia, including one-of-a-kind collectibles, to raise money for the community. “I want to do something really nice for Leeds,” says Barkley, who continues, “I could build 10 to 20 affordable houses. And I’m going to use my own money selling my memorabilia.” “How m

Less Sleep Means More Problems

A week ago we gained an extra day. This past weekend, we lost an hour. The extra day was, well, an extra day. No difference really. But the loss of an hour of sleep, that has left people in a hazy fog and had them wondering why they are so tired and ready to call it a night much earlier than normal. The impact of less sleep, even just an hour, is quite something. But eventually your body adjusts to the one hour lost to daylight savings time. What about people who regularly struggle to get a good nights sleep? For people living on the streets and in shelters, losing an hour when the clocks spring ahead just adds to their sleep deprivation. Joe, a man who has been homeless several times, knows

May Birchard: Activist, Advocate & Visionary

May Birchard was one of the first female City Councillors in Toronto and an influential anti-poverty activist. During WWI, her family moved to Winnipeg where, in the early 30s, she founded The Good Neighbours’ Club. On her return to Toronto, Birchard opened a second location of the Club, now called Haven Toronto. It is still in operation today on Jarvis Street at Shuter. May Birchard first served as a Toronto school board trustee in 1942. At the height of the war she pushed for daycare for the children of women helping with the war effort and for free meals for impoverished children. May Birchard was elected to City Council in 1946. She represented Ward 2 of Toronto which was a mixed area we

To Feed Or To Starve?

Do You Starve a Cold and Feed a Fever? Or Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever? And does it really matter? If you're not quite sure how the saying goes, just know that starving is never the answer. When you eat a well-balanced diet, many things fall in place that keep your body working well. Starving a fever by eating fewer calories may actually make it more difficult for your body to fight off the flu virus. "'Starve a fever' has been medical folklore for hundreds of years because some medical historians believe that doctors in the 1500s and 1600s thought fever meant that your metabolism was in overdrive or working overtime, which is true to some degree," says Mark A.Moyad, MD, MPH, Jenkins

"These men ... just want to belong"

Each morning, at an all too early hour, Toronto’s homeless shelters toss their denizens onto the city’s mean streets, rain, snow or shine. The City of Toronto estimated last year that there were almost 9,000 homeless people, a dramatic increase over the past decade. Statistics also suggest that those more than 50 years of age — the majority of them men — make up about 29 per cent of the total, the fastest growing group. There is a place in the heart of downtown where the city’s homeless population is largely clustered — a place to go, really — for men over 50 that has been operating quietly and without fanfare for decades. Appropriately called Haven Toronto, it sees about 400 clients daily,

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