This post reflects real-life experiences and stories of unhoused individuals who share their opinions on the housing situation in London, Ontario and the change they would like to see. These two stories will most certainly serve as a powerful basis for the advocacy work led by Purple Hands.
Interviewers: Anamika Adhikari, Jill Howe, Thuwaraka Mohanakumar
Please note that introductory questions are not included in this post as the interviewees chose to remain anonymous.
>>> Do you think these supports (fundraisers and/or donation drives) can be improved in some way? What changes do you want to see?
I think it is great, I guess. Thankful for it. Can't ask for anymore can you?
>>> Can the housing situation be improved?
Yes I guess. I do not know too much about it. I know people who have gotten a house, so it works.
>>> What does community mean to you?
Do I feel like I am part of the community? No, not really. There should be people that care and sometimes there are people that don’t care. But it is going to be like that anywhere you go right? There are some people who feel entitled and that and I try not to act like that. I don’t litter. This is not an easy topic to talk about. And it is not easy to change. It is not something that you can change overnight. There’s been times where I got up in the morning and couldn’t get a bed for a while. (...) There is so much more I could do, not [...] myself right.
>>> What change do you want to see?
More housing for homeless people. Quicker access and housing for people that aren’t necessarily paper-ready, which means people without ID and things like that.
>>> What are some aspects that you do appreciate?
I appreciate spaces they have available for shelters, and the staff that, you know, are caring and understanding and open-minded and try to help as much as they can.
>>> What's something that you find hopeful? Have you seen any changes, like in the system?
The Indwell buildings are hopeful.
>>> Oh, what is that?
It’s a housing project. Basically buildings they’re building for low-income housing and people that are on the streets. I’d like to see more of that or social housing and more resources for homeless people, more beds being open– especially in the winter time– and things like that. There’s a lot of people struggling on the street right now in the winter, so agencies like more blankets– basic needs for people on the street.
>>> Is there anything you would want to tell the greater London community or, we’re through Western so we have more of a Western outreach, so is there anything you would want to tell the university?
I just, like, would want the greater community to be more open-minded and more… less judgemental about homeless people. Homeless people come from all walks of life and for all reasons. I think everybody deserves a place to live– no matter what their situation is or what they’ve done in the past. You know, there are some people out there that are hard to house, but there should be supports in places for those people to be housed. It shouldn't have to be earned, right?