Monday, September 12, 2011

Tsunami Update

The other day I caught a news blub stating that 12,000 people are still living in shelters after the tsunami / earthquake devastated Japan 6 months ago. While this is sad …I’m very impressed by what Japan has accomplished in only 6 months. The disaster left 450,000 people homeless, Assume ½ of that number were able to move in with family and friends; that would leave 225,000 people for the government to relocate.  Most certainly some are living in substandard housing, the news clip pictured what looked like converted cargo containers about the size of a rail car (which makes it 2X - 3X the size of my apartment).  We also have to respect that recovery would be slowed to some extent by the fact that Japan’s infrastructure was also badly hit… slowing down access to permits for demolition clean-up, so people can reclaim and rebuild the land. Also I supposed building permits would be slow coming too.  So in 6 months Japan has re-housed over 200,000 people.
The news service picks up on the sad tale of 12,000 homeless in Japan, but continues to ignore the fact that Canada has 150,000 – 300,000 homeless. Given Japan has a population of 127.3 million that leaves 1/10,000 homeless, where as Canada has 1.5/1,000 (or possibly 2X that. Here I am talking about shelter residency (inadequate and substandard housing is another issue). To be very clear I am NOT asking for more shelter space… I want Canada to become proactive in creating affordable housing. I know some of you are thinking… “but, those poor people lost their homes through no fault of their own… it was a natural disaster”. Let us eliminate from Canada’s homeless count the 30% who are street people (Drunks, Druggies & Drop-outs). For the purposes of this discussion I am even willing to eliminate the 20% who I refer to as Medicals (people who’s health or mental health issues make them unemployable) and sadly uncared for.  So our homeless count is now down by 50% leaving us with 75,000 to 150,000 deserving people who have been hit by a wave of economic crisis (as oppose to water) and / or had their life shaken to its foundation by personal disasters. This is our National Disasters… our crisis and to some extent or shame. Congratulations Japan for doing in 6 months what Canada has failed to do in decades RE-HOUSING more than 90% of its homeless. It is election time; let’s make AFFORDABLE HOUSING an issue which cannot be ignored.  


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