The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “homelessness

2019 Wish – Faith Groups Cooperate to Face Our Greatest Challenges

Posted on December 30, 2018

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland gets widespread media coverage in all corners of the globe.  Most are aware that economic, political and celebrity speakers address the conference, yet few have heard that the Forum earnestly seeks faith leaders to participate and that they are seen as essential to the betterment of the world.  Many toss cold water on the concept of faith playing a prominent role in helping the world with its greatest challenges, but a significant portion of those from fields as diverse as health, climate change, democracy, politics and media are themselves of religious persuasion and they can look past the ills of religious institutions and see their strengths.  For this reason, faith leaders and grassroots religious movements have been provided…

Bringing It Home

Posted on April 20, 2018

Last week I attended an annual outdoor lunch that raises awareness over the state of homelessness in our city.  It’s a powerful mix of housing advocates, policy makers, media and most important of all, homeless individuals seeking a better world. On the same day The Guardian published what turned out to be a timely piece titled, “Finland has found the answer to homelessness.  It couldn’t be simpler.”  It was the kind of headline meant to quickly draw the reader into its rationale that defeating homelessness isn’t perhaps as complex as we thought. But first the bad news.  The article reminded its British readers that, whether they liked it or not, they were tolerating a homelessness situation that was becoming a national embarrassment: The number…

The Character to Overcome

Posted on October 21, 2017

A lot has been said, written, sung, painted and even preached on the subjects of poverty, mental illness, addictions and homelessness in London in these past few years. Over time our brains have been hijacked into placing each of these challenges into their own separate categories, when the reality is that thousands of our citizens in this city frequently move through them on a continual basis. Many remain mired in such conditions because not enough supports are there to help move them along, while others have been fortunate enough to acquire proper assistance to begin the process of building their lives. Like Melissa Sheehan, for example. At thirty years of age, she has endured more of her share of careening disappointments and setbacks and…

The Shelter of Each Other

Posted on March 3, 2016

THIS CONUNDRUM OF HOMELESSNESS IN CANADA has become an exquisitely painful exercise. Over a number of decades we watched from a distance as it first emerged in our larger cities, then became something of an embarrassment to civic, provincial, and federal leaders. It is a part of the Canadian landscape that we understand doesn’t match our worldwide appeal or our domestic ideals. At crucial moments during that journey (an excruciating trek for those who are actually homeless) the subtle compromise was reached that it was a problem that needed to be managed as opposed to solved – a subtle admission that the distance between our compassionate ideals and our desire for an affluent life was unbridgeable. For those living without a secure place for…

Poverty’s Great Unknown (2) – Hiding in Plain Sight

Posted on February 20, 2015

IN HER BOOK ALPHABET OF THORN, author Patricia McKillip has one of her chief characters ask another: “Do you become invisible?” In reply, the other character says, “No. I’m there, if you know how to look. I stand between the place you look at and the place you see – behind what you expect to see. If you expect to see me, you do.” This is the way it is with modern poverty; people suffer their deprivations in private, yet they are seen everywhere in every community. They are us, but we don’t really see them. In Canada, we most often can’t be bothered to look for poverty in our midst, but if we truly wanted to, we could spot it – everywhere. In yesterday’s…