Moving beyond servicing homeless

Re: Getting out of the homelessness cycle by Trevor Scott Howell Sept. 2 to 8 2010

Ending homelessness should incorporate a lot more than putting a roof over someone’s head. The challenges described in this article are very real and represent barriers that prevent people from achieving support through government-funded services — services that don’t often address the depth and complexity of people’s needs but exacerbates them. It’s about time we listened to people with lived experiences. The integrity of this article and its perspective on the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness is that people with lived experiences have been invited to participate in how we are offered information around homelessness. However there is a serious and troubling difference between listening and learning from people with lived experience and creating an industry that establishes careers out of victimhood is there not? Painting people like victims does little more than strip them of their self-efficacy and their ability to build self-determined lives.

Is it possible for Calgary to look beyond servicing people into dependency? As a victim is it possible to look beyond government-funded services and imagine what you can attain for yourself? The very idea of allowing people to define what they need and the support they need in attaining it is the elephant in the room. Can we not maintain the dignity of people as we look forward in our approaches to addressing homelessness? Incorporate the insights of people who are achieving self-attained stability. Forget about furthering the stigmas of victimhood. Believing in someone is far more powerful and effective than “servicing” them. We all have to check ourselves once in a while and ask: Are we seeking solutions or are we looking for ways to capitalize on people’s victimhood?

Skye Novotnya