A heartbreaking look into homelessness on a personal level
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
“If home is where the heart is, then are homeless people heartless?”
That tweet, read by Cheryl—a homeless woman of seven years—brought a devastated look across her face. Through falling tears and a weakened voice, she cupped her mouth and quietly said: “Far from it.”
A couple months ago, Raising the Roof, a Canadian non-profit organization fighting homelessness, posted a video titled The homeless read mean tweets. Unlike common “mean tweets” videos which usually cause laughter, this one instead brought tears. People from between the ages of 3 and 47 who had experienced homelessness read tweets from strangers who expressed their negative viewpoints on homeless people.
“I was enjoying a latte when I saw a hobo girl across the street. I almost vomited. Get back to your side of the bridge. No one likes you.”
“In all honesty, I kinda don’t feel bad for homeless people. Each individual is in control of their life and future so it’s their fault.”
Having amassed over 1.3 million views, this message has been heard by people across the country. However, one video isn’t enough to change the hearts of Canadians nationwide.
According to The Homeless Hub, over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year, with an average of 35,000 each night. While some couch-surf, others find emergency shelters to stay in for the night, whereas the remainder find themselves unsheltered.
Raising the Roof raised awareness to the issue again, posting another video last week titled “A homeless shelter shakes up a neighbourhood.” In the video, the organization posted a fake sign for one day in the suburb of Leaside, Toronto, revealing a plan to implement a homeless shelter before Christmas. Without hesitation, multiple people called the organization expressing their concern and dissatisfaction regarding the false plans.
“This will affect my business… [and] my livelihood. How did you possibly get the permission to ruin a neighbourhood by putting a homeless shelter here?”
“You know they are all drug addicts and drunks. You’re ruining a perfectly good neighbourhood. This is absolutely absurd.”
“There must be some other place where a homeless shelter can be opened up. Let’s move them somewhere down South or up North.”
The next day, the organization removed the sign to reveal the true message behind the experiment. It said, “You told us you don’t want a shelter here. Neither do we. Support us in creating long-term solutions. Let’s end homelessness.”
To become a part of this conversation, check out RaisingtheRoof.org