Free Issue of Homelessness Essay Sample


The issue that has raised the concern of the municipality is the one to do with the homelessness in the region. In the year 1965, Prime Minister Leaster Pearson made a speech when addressing the Ontario Association of Housing Authorities cited the main challenge the need for all citizens to have a decent home, according to the prime minister, it's not about making mansions in some homes but the most important thing is to ensure that none of the homes in the region is a shack (Shinn & Weitzman, 1998).  The goal of achieving a respectable housing in the democratic society according to the prime minister had to be achieved. However, he did not mention about the homelessness social problem that was not there in the year 1965 (Grigsby et al, 1990).

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In December 1998, the United Nation committee on Economic, social & Cultural Rights made a declaration that it is deeply concerned that a wealthy country such as Canada has left the crisis of being homelessness and the issue of inadequate housing to rise to such a point as to making the mayors of top ten largest cities in Canada to declare the problem of inadequate housing a national disaster. The issue of homelessness has become a major political and social problem in the whole of North America for the last twenty years or so. However, as these mayors announced, the issue has gone out of control in Canada and this is why the issue has become a contemporary Municipal Policy Concern in Ontario (Grigsby et al, 1990).

This is a big concern based on the fact, encircling a series of economic as well as social factors that impact the society in a negative way in regard to their health and well-being.  Some of these factors consist of lack of good healthcare, poverty, lack of reasonably priced housing, and lack of social supports. These challenges that have been mentioned can be understood as implicit as social inequality problems as well as social segregation.  The persistent nature of such challenges is enabled by ideological postures that are considerably diverse at the national, provincial and community or local levels as it is in this case (Shinn & Weitzman, 1998).  As most of the communities athwart the nation are busy developing and maintaining initiatives on homelessness, for instance, research work that is knowledgeable by multi-disciplinary and distributed through service agencies that are intimately accustomed to the local need, such proposals are complicated to uphold in the dearth of national as well as provincial policies (economic, social, housing) which sufficiently address elementary issues and give reliable support sustainably. 

The issue of hopelessness needs to be handled critically through formulation of Municipal Policy based on the fact that it necessitates combined action, at different levels of government starting right at the municipal level (Shinn & Weitzman, 1998).    As a result, effective joint action calls for an exemplary shift, a pressure group beyond ideological fascination regarding the issue of self reliance. As a result the policy development needs a prominence regarding the impartiality and inclusivity in the community (Grigsby et al, 1990).

Homelessness adversely affects the community in many aspects such as social ills that includes domestic violence, substance abuse, scarcity of reasonably priced urban housing, high joblessness rates that include seasonal and frictional and unemployment, social classes' discrimination, racial discrimination and raw or poorly treated mental illness. The origin of homelessness evidently lead to special issues regarding the social policy at the connection of the field's urban planning, welfare reform, economics, medicine, child and family protection and so on. In order to tackle these issues in the right manner calls for insight into the particular fields that these issues emerge from. Increased vexing is the realism that most issues that have been mentioned often intersect in upsetting ways to refute the novice unsophisticated remedies that may be required (Grigsby et al, 1990).


Political activity surrounding the issue:

The intervention of the government toward this issue of homeless, which has been slow at best, has been informed by the politics surrounding it. In this regard I am referring to the ambiguity of the word "homelessness" that has mostly been informed by the politics that have surrounded this issues.  This ambiguity has ended up categorizing so many different people in one rubric thereby according the authorities and especially the government, an excuse of not addressing this issue (Havel, 1989). The ambiguity of the concept the homelessness can be found in the irony of categorizing those who are homeless as a lifestyle choice as homeless (Havel, 1989). One of the tragedies of labeling so many people homeless is that it accords the government so many front of not taking action.

However it also creates some deep-rooted biases against the poor population that arise from individualistic ideology and also give rise to the same. It is therefore right to argue that the government shortsightedness as far as the issue of homelessness is concerned can be viewed from two angles perspectives namely; a narrow and unrealistic view of the resultant problem from this problem has been framed, the problem of language and perception and the narrow and realistic view of the solution that are available given the restrictions associated with their ideological context The ambiguity of the concept the homelessness can be found in the irony of categorizing those who are homeless as a lifestyle choice as homeless (Havel, 1989). Exacerbating this situation are the discordant views of Ontario residents, which are not only influenced by the media but also reflected by it, together with their tendency to go with the status quo and the current ideological influences (Bouma-Prediger, 2008).

Political solution:

The best way to tackle this problem of homelessness is from the community perspective. In this case homeless ought to be considered part and parcel of the community. However this must happened in a certain setting.  First, the voice of the community has to be heard in regard to homeless without any filtering by the any ideological interpretation. According to Havel (1989) "ideology is a veil behind which people hide their fallen existence, their trivialization, together with their adaptation to the status quo". Part of the response from the Ontario community to this problem of homelessness appears to be challenging the current ideologies that have immensely contributed to this problem in the first place (Bouma-Prediger, 2008). This is likely to cause a bit of dissonance to some members of Ontario community who are supportive of both political status quo and the community initiative. However irrespective of the occurrence of dissonance or not, community action will no doubt force a contest with the ideological influences to the process of decision making.     

Contrary to the assumption of self-reliance and the principle of people caring for one another, a serious contrast exists in the prairie and in extension Ontario (Bouma-Prediger, 2008). In the past there this municipal might have developed with such "gemeinshcaft" qualities, however with the explosion of immigration combined with the occupations that encourages a migratory lifestyle, the ability of the Ontario community to provide homes has been highly diluted, which is the reason why the government has to be involved, and if possible partner with the community (Bouma-Prediger, 2008).    

Individuals or groups having an interest in the issue:

The Progressive Conservative parties (both federally and provincially) and the Conservative Party, have been always propagated for a complete departure to collectivism in what majority see as a thin veiled attempt at introducing individualism, the Liberal Party on the other hand has reluctantly been supportive of the ideology of collectivism, while NDP is a well known supporter of collectivism not only in this issue of homelessness but a whole lot of social issues.

However despite this support of individualism, which as I have pointed has a whole host of supporters (including the Milton Friedman, Powell, and Hayen), the role of the government still remain well cut out, this is in form of eliminating what Havel (1989) call "neighborhood effect", which like he observes are better addressed by the government and the community at the local level.  The provision of public services, which are better provided by the government, also demonstrates the role of government in alleviating this problem of homeless (Layton, 2000).  Other responsibility of the government that would also go along way in alleviating this problem of homelessness include; establishing - a national investment and employment, social insurance cover to protect workers from losing their jobs, another social cover against death and disability, a family allowance program, and a health insurance  (Layton, 2000).  

The government should also discourage as much as possible citizen dependence on the states because as it has been observed in a Canadian Business Magazine to the effect that "whenever men become reliant on the state for their wellbeing the threat of an ideological totalitarian invasion lurks in the charitable concepts of any prevalent mandatory scheme of social security insurance" (Layton, 2000).  

Intergovernmental relations:

The remarkable resistance of municipal consolidation is in a matter of thought a common act witnessed in most part of the North America. Since 1990s, the municipal reforms have never been that active but the call for realignment of the image of the municipal emerge, the resistance was witnessed in the cities of Montreal and also in Toronto. The shapes taken emerged to head on political dispensation rather than the normal process of restructuring (Gloger 19). Emergence of such movement poses a threat to most establishments for example the European Union. The phenomenon is also witnessed by the Northern America as the devolution of power is planned. Though the intuitions in the United States and Canada are a bit inferior compared to the one in the European Union, a significant progress have been made concerning the inter governmental relations. The cooperative movements within the US started by early 1980s, the trend gained movement as various treaties were signed to install a governmental policies.

The dispute of how the treaties were going to be managed was a concern that broke a smooth deal over the complex governance network. There were some that proposed a deal be done based on political goodwill while others maintain their former opinion as the best. Finally it was a matter of regions governed political that made it. According to the former, the issue arising were catered for despite the region but it was argued that political will was important as it was providing necessary mobilization and implementation of policies. The devolved government restricts the state to only the constitutional allowance of devolution. Devolved government to some extend is important in implementation of some policies that go way to realizing the projected benefits.

For instance a section of citizen have opinions that could be shared to others states or provinces (Boudreau 172). In some cases, the possibility of reaching out into consensus among the provinces might not be achieved due vested interest. For instance the Toronto and Montreal were being influenced by their respective policies therefore they couldn't have a collective responsibility or single policy both.  There are several ways of analyzing the consideration that influence decisions made some provinces. The issue of diverse opinion over the kind of activists, the need to accommodate the minority and a lean relationship in inter states or provinces (Gloger 19)     .

There are several issues separating some cities in Canada; Toronto is one of the richest cities and it supplies of some resources to other cities that make it crucial in Ontario; The city share out its resource to other cities and to whole of Canada in aid of balancing the economic status of the Canadians. The underlining issues in the city is the fact that as it offer money to other cities, the city remains with shoddy housing and some witnessed homelessness due to expensive housing and according to survey it has the highest poverty rate among children. The politics in the city was shaping itself and was focusing on claiming their share from policy national (Boudreau 172).

The activists in the two cities are not letting it go anyway in the intergovernmental relation brought out conflict of interest in the top level of government. The argument being that the problems facing Toronto could be solved using the money ploughed but at the same time other cities depend on it for survival and sustenance. The problems faced by cities globally are about jurisdictions. Basically the balance between the national distribution and retaining of resources within the city is a complex matter which varies every time. Activists in Toronto for example want the government to reorganize in order to allow Toronto to have its resources channeled to housing units.

Work of Devolved Governments:

After activism, reforms were made in order to cap the difference in flow of policy among the cities where Montreal and Toronto got inaugurated into new format where they got some independence and self reliance. Basically most of provincial governments were concerned with the buildings of its residence. The bilateral relationship broke a deal between the relationships. There were various activities from the central and the provincial government to have a referendum that consisted of various stake holders including the activist to reach a consensus on sharing of resources and recognition of the boundaries that separated various regions. Each local government was required to cater for housing among its citizens. The issue of poor housing was the main reason for accelerated growth among the activist across Canadian main cities lead by Montreal and Toronto.  The activities were carried were in each of the cities and provisional governments were served by different duties including verifying policies made by the central government. Each local government was given powers to control its resources according to the jurisdiction of the law. However national policies were implemented all over the country (Boudreau 172).

Effects of Municipal governments on the federal and provincial government. The devolved government and the federal governments work hand in hand but there are some possibilities that conflicts of interests occur. Basically the federal government does its policies to cater for its citizen. Specifically on the housing units, finding is given to provincial government where intern they make the houses (Gloger 19). Though running of the system might look easy, the problem in Canada is quite demanding as a survey shows that the local government are equally strained and frustrated by the undergoing process where the local governments distance themselves from the central government. Both the federal and the provision government suffer a lot as they try to control the budgets of the local authorities and the cities. Each province varies according to their policies therefore making the federal government slow down in implementation.

Case Analysis:

The municipality of Ontario did several development projects to cater for homeless in along its boundaries. Basically in took a consultative meeting between the city of Hamilton and the province officials over the issue of catering for the homeless. They undertook its activities centered at the disabled whereby their shelter was made a priority in together with the minimum wage they were being offered. The province accessed its function and the reviewed its policy. It started rebuilding itself after the delegation of powers they got from the federal government. It undertook a review that it policies as it preferred to work with municipalities rather than working with the provisional government. Several other reviews such as homecare systems were redesigned to suit the new dispensation; with wide aide of consultancy so that it more homeless acquired a home.  

Ontario social welfare was started in 1998 and it was meant to cater for poor that could not afford the basic needs. It included advocates and policy making to give guideline to the funding. The welfare was much committed to the welfare of the disabled. The National Child Benefit Program was initiative of the federal government but was modified by the Ontario provisional government such that some portion was directed at disabled through their home care. The main of the provincial government was to make sure all the residence of Ontario were living adequately in terms if basic needs with affordable and available housing

Case Analysis

One of the way in which Ontario municipality is addressing the issue of homelessness in the region is to implement the recommendations that were given by Provincial Task Force, in an attempt to salvage the situation (Bouma-Prediger, 1998). Some of the recommendation includes; the municipality should be granted the flexibility to utilize a portion of their hostel funding for the sake of creating approaches of homelessness among people, this is a viable recommendation that actually tackled the issue effectively (Shinn & Weitzman, 1998). 


Based on the situation in Ontaria, other municipalities can apply some of the methods used by this state to tackle the problem at hand. The municipalities that pose some expertise as well as the local contribution should bring together the local service systems to be overseen by the homelessness services.   

The recommendation requiring the provincial ministries to make sure that their programs as well as the policies that are meant to progress their main duty as the leader of the local service system should be implemented too in all the cities (Shinn & Weitzman, 1998).  The federal government should review its tax as well as housing policies with the aim of improving their support for establishment of rental accommodation that are privately sponsored. This is an appeal to the federal government and it stood to benefit all the states in the country (Grigsby et al, 1990). Lastly, All the states in the country require working in collaboration municipalities to assist people to be converted into reunited to the public. As a result this will eventually diminish the issue of homelessness.


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