Homeless vs. Immigrant . . Shouldn’t Be this Way

I must admit that I am still of two minds around the whole Canadian immigrant open door policy not because I don’t respect the importance or the emergency folks face over seas and not because of recent events in California and the suggested connection to ISIS and terrorism and I do not suffer from some phobia, bias, fear or anything else. But, in reality the immigrant crisis is not the only emergency that Canada has to deal with. Like it or not we have an obligation to do just as much-some would say more for our own people who are in dire life threatening need as well and arguably in greater danger and discomfort than are those who live in camps far away.  Let’s, at least, look at what we know to be relatively true. Too many have made their decisions for political gain, some have supported this initiative using their hearts and not their heads and some genuinely care about humans who are suffering under horrible conditions who deserve to be treated as human beings. But the exact same points could be made considering the homeless. Who do we choose to help because it seems that we are not prepared to help both. But before you consider or re-consider your thoughts get some accurate information by clicking on this link produced by ‘the Homeless Hub”.

Other thoughts:

–we are talking about 25000 refugees who seek safety and freedom in Canada while there are approximately 150,000 Canadians identified as homeless each year.

–immigrants face overcrowded & dreadful conditions certainly by North American standards. As bad as it is over there homeless folks have even less over here. No shelter, no roof, no safety, no heat during a below freezing night when frostbite is a regular occurance, no guarantee of anything that resembles food unless you consider dumpster garbage food  appropriate and often no warm clothing.

–great amounts of money have been pledged to assist the immigrants coming to Canada. The homeless have seen their funding for shelter and respite reduced year after year. The homeless are becoming truly homeless.

–immigrants will receive good medical assessment and care, medication for challenged applicants and follow up services. Homeless folks can’t get meds in many cases because they don’t have an address or a care giver so they are left untreated. They often trade sexual favours for enough money to buy outdated meds on the street never knowing exactly what they are getting in return

–many immigrants escape with their families while homeless people are often isolated, disconnected and abandoned by their families for a variety of reasons. They travel alone with little or no support.

–immigrants on the whole don’t face the same kind of threat of personal harm or injury once they are in a camp of some kind but homeless people are constantly under threat of beatings, theft, and abuse. It’s part of the reason they sleep during the day and stay awake all night.

–immigrants are displaced from their country and their culture. Homeless folks really don’t have a country and certainly no culture. They just exist and survive each day by their wits and their imaginations

–How many immigrants die in the camps while waiting to be processed? Some 1300+who are homeless die each year on our streets. About 1700 people die in car crashes (2013)

–Our compassion for immigrants seems to be never ending but our compassion for our homeless seems to be waning dramatically.

–Immigrants who want out will generally get out. Some homeless people have been waiting months even years for the political promises made to help them to happen. They are still waiting.                                                                               

                                                                                          No one human life is worth more or is more worthy than the one next to it–JC


“Carrie has long blond hair and beautiful blue eyes and loves to read Dostoevsky. At age 8 her step-father began raping her. Living with ongoing sexual abuse, Carrie escaped from ‘home’ at age 16. Carrie lives on the streets with Patches, her part-Rottweiler dog. Patches is her only source of unconditional love and companionship, offering protection, trust and body heat. Dogs are not allowed in the emergency shelters, so for four years Carrie has lived in a make-shift shanty camp.” (From Charity Intelligence Canada)

“Sadly we may view the homeless through the distorting lens of morality or character, judging those living on the streets as lazy, undeserving or less worthy than ourselves. Worse is the attitude that people choose to be homeless. No one in their right mind would choose to be homeless with its violence, stress and degradation. Sometimes sleeping on the streets is safer than being in a crowded emergency shelter. Homelessness reflects a failure in us and organizations to provide appropriate and responsive care. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are effective programs and services that work to intervene with those who are homeless. The wait lists for these programs and their capacity to work with more people, is only constrained by the lack of funding.               (From Charity Intelligence Canada)


“We can be moved by the tragedy of mass starvation on a far continent… But it takes a greater effort of emotional imagination to empathize with the addict. We readily feel for a suffering child, but cannot see the child in the adult who, his soul fragmented and isolated, hustles for survival a few blocks away from where we shop or work.” — Gabor Mate (Taken From An Article-Charity Intelligence Canada)


Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, Jim

Comments are always welcome-so are ideas. Please contact me at : jim.lifechoice@gmail.com   OR    jimcloughley.com

2 thoughts on “Homeless vs. Immigrant . . Shouldn’t Be this Way”

  1. Hey Jim … I wonder how many people are feeling the same as you , and me for that matter. I admire the way you express your thoughts on the situation we are now facing.


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