WIDENING GAP

JIM HUBBARD

*The widening gap between the rich and the poor in Canada finds no manifestation quite bitter as the sight of homeless families, wandering the streets and finding respite in the subways, alleys and shelters of our major cities.

*Today our nations mood has changed from sadness to impatience.Far from feeling troubled or guilt ridden our cities influential citizens seem to feel angry that the numbers of poor and homeless have continued to increase, as if they somehow had invested something of themselves in feeling “sad” or “generous” for 3 or 4 brief years and now must overcome their instincts of compassion if they are to carry on their ordinary lives with the required feelings of immunity to suffering

*The poor are our neighbors. They are like you and me; they have gone to college, had jobs and been laid off, they’ve had families,belonged to churches and served in the military.But unlike many of us, homeless people have suffered job lossess and illnesses they could not prevent; many of them are deinstitutionalized mentally ill, released into a society they can neither comprehend nor defend themselves against.

*It is often overlooked that many homeless people work but they lack safety nets[savings accts, supportive relatives or friends who can lend them money]that many of us take for granted.

*Homeless people are refugees forced into exile by catastrophic circumstances that are beyond they’re control but the separation from the predominant culture is as total as if they had been deported to another land.

*Today hundreds of thousands of children are growing up in shelters, on the streets and even in cars, abandoned by a system that should be caring for and nurturing them.

*For the homeless the normal events of every day life are more often attempts…sometimes successful, sometimes not…..at making do , getting by,hanging on.Even in shelters which are frequently overcrowded, every day life is little better than life on the streets.