Feb 22, 2011

13 Quiet Revolt - Homelessness

Not all protests, demonstrations, revolt are loud and violent some are so quietly profound that it leaves an unmistakable sound that makes it hard to ignore the ringing in your ear and heart.

Friday October 29, 2010 7:09 A.M. I was running to a Person’s Breakfast. It was cold. It was the kind of morning I call crispy, you know, when the breeze blows and it feels like someone is biting your skin, so there is no time to dilly dally on the streets, your steps are hurried almost to a run, your coat is buttoned to the chin, your shoulders are hunched up around your ears and your hands are either tucked into your pockets or held tightly to your chest where you periodically rub it together to create heat or blow into it so the heat from your breath can warm it a little. Hmmmmm, mmmm, winter is making itself known.

As I reached Bay street bus stop I saw a bulked figure on the ground directly in front the steps of Old City Hall (OCH). I slowed my pace a bit. I was somewhat apprehensive and not quite sure if it really was a person, then there was movement as the figure adjusted the knapsack under their head. An Asian gentleman approached the sleeping figure, bent low as if checking to see if the person was alive and said something to the person lying there. I did not hear as I was too far away however the person simply adjusted their self again and ignoring the gentleman. The Asian gentleman straightened himself, shook his head and left walking south on bay toward Richmond.

I thought to myself staring at the person lying on the sidewalk in front of the OCH stairs and wondered ‘why here, in front of the steps of Old City Hall, this couldn’t be incidental, no this person knew exactly what they are doing.’ I thought, ‘they are staging a quiet revolution’ because it is a very specific spot. The Old City Hall and the New City Hall stand side by side. One is located on 60 Queen Street West, the other at 100 Queen Street West which is directly across the street.

Usually the homeless in the city sleep over the heated vents in the street, this person ignored them all because just a few feet down and across the street from where they lay there were heated vents. Seeing the homeless gets to me every time. It is a scary situation to be in and to witness because the reality is it can happen to anyone. It keeps me humble and greatful. The weather here can be brutal and aside from worrying about getting a roof over ones head, food to eat and all the other challenges that comes with being homeless there is the matter of staying warm and avoiding hyperthermia not to mention death.

It’s not easy trying to maneuver life sometimes, so many are out of jobs, can’t find decent paying jobs or are working for menial wages, living hand to mouth, pay check to pay check having to decide between medicine and rent, rent and food, choosing between their health and their children’s. Many use soup kitchens, food banks and whatever charitable resources available to help supplement their lack of income or menial income. It’s a nasty reality so many face and fear. Most people don’t think it occurs here because this is Canada however it is very real. Life is not a rose garden, it is unpredictable and things can change on a dime.

It is wise for all of us to be mindful that whenever we encounter a homeless person to keep a still tongue, try not to judge, turn up your nose and assign labels because the truth of the matter is we don’t know their circumstance, their story and not everyone is a drug addict, drunk, or suffering with mental health issues.



  1. How can we help the Homeless? By giving from our hearts and not judging for one thing. By thanking the God we are not Homeless ourselves. That we are able to cover ourselves with a blanket and stay indoors from the rain. By being in an air-conditioned room when it’s hot and humid outside. By having home cooked meals and watching t.v., listening to our favorite music, going on our computer, etc. etc. There are so much ways in which we can help our fellow citizens. Make their lives a little bit brighter. It doesn’t have to be money. It could be clothing, a pair of shoes, a blanket, or just a hug. Anything would do. They are not prejudice… and we shouldn’t be too.

    comment date nov.23.2010

  2. Beautifully said, for some we are a paycheck away from being one of those unfortunate souls that will fight for one of those heated vents for a night of warmth. There are so many reasons why people become “Homeless.” I agree that Homeless People need to take the initiative however, there also need to be more services provided to ease their transition back. Many lack the education/common sense to basic everyday survival skills. There is also a diversity to the Homeless, Families, Druggies, Alcoholics, Mental Illness, and those who choose to be Homeless which is unfortunate.

  3. I know that I have been humbled to be thankful for all the little things in life so many take for granted. You and I are alike, we look in the nooks and crannies. Even here in a smaller community, I see, and know the under-belly (the dark side) of what is promoted as such a family friendly “Christian” community. I could get my preach on…But lets all be mindful with an open heart. Our God keeps us alert to those around us. Even if we do not know them personally. During the Holiday’s let’s all be focused to have a heat like our Father’s. So be it…


  4. A touching story, Rhapsody! I am now in Morocco. This trip is a great experience in so many ways. Too many people here are poor. They have never gone to school like you and me, they never learned arithmetics, or history, or geography. But almost everybody here speaks at least two languages, and so maybe they are kind of rich after all? Because the way I see it, languages are the key to understanding! And this people even speak Arabian, and they are liberal muslims. I suddenly started hoping for a better world, a world of UNDERSTANDING – through the people of Morocco. I need someone to make me really understand how a muslim thinks, and what is most important in his life. I think maybe the people of Morocco might help us, by being diplomats between the East and the West.


  5. Homelessness is one of the many sad outcomes of the canadian government’s lack of priority for its people. If only they placed “the needs” of its people as first priority and stopped mismanaging their budgets the city of Toronto would experience less gaps in economic and social structures and see more equal distribution of wealth.

  6. This is an old hills true story,it seems everywhere the same a specially in an asian coutries. As you said their real life is not a rose garden.
    Surprising enough in this country(Australia) we have a lots of them and younger people too, it is a sad to seen them espically in the cold winter’s time.
    Thank you for sharing,


  7. Reality checks are a painful moment that shouldn’t be avoided. A tonic for the soul of one calloused in his blessings. It does appear to have been a quiet demonstration. Thanks for the shout Ms Rhapsody.


  8. Wow! I found this blog really moving. I hope you don't mind that I sent it to a friend of mine who has a website called acelebrationofwomen.org
    I am sure she will love it. Check her site out too


  9. So very true. One thing that makes this so sad is the fact that so very many of the homeless are veterans.

  10. Homeless & too many poor people in here too...
    Some people are eating a dog food because cheaper.
    And yet the other day I heard on news that we are comfortable to lived countries in worlds.
    No1 is Canada(Vancouver) No2 Australia(Melbourne). I will find out more with this.
    So many people has no jobs..
    I'm confused myself.
    Have a great day,

  11. I see homeless people on my way to work. Sleeping in store fronts right across the street from Harvard University. The richest university in the world. So many of us should realise just how close we could be to being one those people.

  12. tnx for this enlightenment...i never knew or suspected such a thing do happen there....*sigh!* is all i can do for now, becox the situation in 9ja is even worst.

  13. Just wanted to come by and say hello to you. Here's hoping that you are keeping well. Looking forward to your next update and I sure do hope that it's soon... cause I'm not getting any younger. Bwahaha! Take good care... keep smiling!


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