Friday, May 28, 2010


May 28, 2010

This is the first segment in an ongoing series called “Quite Heroes”… about everyday people and business owners who extend themselves to the homeless in our communities. I will not name these businesses and individuals because they have chosen to move quietly through their lives doing good works. Their reward is held in the hands of their god and the gratitude of those whose lives they have touched.
Today I want to tell you about about a 24hr internet cafĂ©, which is frequented by homeless young people. It provides a respite from the dangers, discomfort and structure of the youth shelters. They pay the unlimited daily use fee and hangout unmolested for the whole night. If they fall asleep on a table they are left to sleep. This owner will allow the young people to work small chores in exchange for internet time or food. This kindness is not required… You know WHO YOU ARE and you are my first QUIET HERO. Thank you.
Rev. Dr Ken Fong put it well when he wrote, "No one can do everything, but if everyone does something...everything will get done".

Friday, May 21, 2010

Homeless Connect 9

May 21, 2010
Sorry about the extended absence from bloggable activity, but as you all know I am currently on a brief stopover in Calgary visiting family and friends. If all goes as planned the next leg of my, Angels of the Road, journey will have me away from home for a year or more. The distances are too great to bus back every few months…. can’t afford to fly and we all know (from the Grande Cache experience) I just suck at hitch-hiking LOL.
Last Saturday I attended Homeless Connect 9… every few months the Calgary Homeless foundation gathers together all the service providers under one roof. Booths are set up for housing, health care, identification, legal advice, rehab programs, grooming, etc…. etc…. etc. While we waited in the line to enter (which took just over an hour) volunteers came around with coffee and teeny muffins. As always I use the time in line ups to get acquainted with other clients. I ran into several old friends that day, many of whom have been housed through initiatives created by The Calgary Homeless Foundation. These events and services are available not just for the homeless but also the poor and working poor. You really should check out the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s website to learn more about their many projects and the 10 year plan to end homelessness.
Don’t forget to check out my articles on Angels of the Road gets paid approximately a penny a click so send all your friends ;-). Also, for any aspiring Journalists & Photo-journalists…. pays a $50 referral fee if you list referred by Bonny L. Cameron. And as with every dime I get these days it goes to keeping Angels of the Road on the road.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Edwin Tuts: one man's journey

May 11, 2010

Good Morning... when I opened my email today I found that Edwin had sent me a note including this video about his story. Since he has chosen to go public with his story I feel free to share my story about our meeting.
Last summer I was living at the WEAC (Women's Emergency Accommodation Centre) in Edmonton. I spent many days in Churchill Square, centrally located, it is a very popular park on the City Hall property frequented by residents and homeless alike). Because this park is central I would take most of my meals at the Hope Mission. There were always lots of people, making Hope a great venue for meeting, greeting and catching up with old friends.
One morning, I was walking the block, killing time when I met two of the kitchen volunteers who had come outside for a smoke. At first they assumed I was there to volunteer... I explained I was just waiting for the lunch line to start. As the conversation unfolded, both gentlemen expressed the need for studio space. I spoke a bit about the studio / gallery at the DI and inquired about their mediums. One was a carver the other a painter. Edwin then told me that he had at one time been a prominant Canadian artist and invited me to "google him". I, of coarse, had to ask how he ended up in a shelter... The story is not entirely uncommon, a talented, sensitive person is hit by some emotional difficulties and what was a recreation becomes an escape and ultimately a trap. Addiction took over Edwin's life and took everything he had (at least financially). By the time I met Edwin he was well into the Christian based rehab program at Hope Mission. Now I am so happy to be able to share with you his story. A testament to the journey of one man in reclaiming his life from the streets. We can't look at any homeless person and honestly believe we KNOW who they truly are, how they came to be here or where they might end up.
If you can attend the showing please do ... and spead the word.
Edwin says, "You are invited to See some masterpieces of art by some great artists! Tell all your friends and tell them to tell their friends!!! See you there Thanks Edwin Tuts".
Event: "Art for the Heart of Edmonton" Saturday, May 22
10:00am - 6:00pm The "Immigration Hall Bldg."
10534-100 street

Monday, May 10, 2010

bits n bites

May 10, 2010

Hope all the Mom's out there had a good Mother's Day. Once again I did not phone my mother, but thanks to my little sister I considered it ...for the first time in many years. As with many parent child relationships... we have issues.
Other bits and bites from this week. Trying to make sure I see all my Calgary friends before I have to leave again. I have contacted the about getting a column...doesn't pay much but every little bit helps keep the project going. The best part is I can do it from anywhere. Mending a few things, while I'm my life boring or what LOL
One piece of exciting news... Edwin Tuts is being featured in an art show on May22nd in Edmonton from 10am-6pm at the "newly restored immigration hall bldg" 10534-100 St. Local and international artist will be there and proceeds will benefit the Hope Mission and its work with the city's homeless! Hope Mission is one of my favourite venues in Edmonton... if you can attend please do. Also please spread the word, a good turn out is important.
I'm planning to attend the Homeless Connect on Saturday so if you don't hear from me before I'll be reporting on that this Sunday. Enjoy your week ttyl.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Just do it.

May 4, 2010

Today, I read a decade old article about homelessness in Canada. It is surprising just how similar it is to what we are hearing/reading today. More poor people + less affordable housing = more homeless….. Well, duh! What was interesting is that the demographic breakdown supports my personal findings, “1/3 addicts, 20-35% mental health” don’t look at me, that is a quote. Personally I would opt for percentages or fractions. I have found the demographics differ from province to province (even city to city) based on the housing priorities of particular governments. Over all, my travels thus far confirm the Calgary demographic of 50% poverty… 30% street people … 20% medicals. These numbers are observational, hard statistics are being gathered all the time by agencies and academics, and should be accessible, if that is your interest. What is not addressed in the article is the "WHY?".
WHY are there more poor people? WHY is there less affordable housing? If you know anywhere these questions have been addressed please feel free to let me know. In all honesty anything I tell you about these questions is only an educated guess, based on having lived through the past 3 decades and witnessing the changes firsthand.
Much of this is covered in my essay, “A Brief History of Economics”. Housing went from being a family home to being a commodity; bought, sold and traded to create personal wealth for the middle-class. While incomes increased slowly (100% over 30 years) real estate sky rocketed (1600% over 30 years), this increases the cost of everything. Every business sits on land and those increased cost need to be recouped so the price of products and services are increase. That is why we have fewer affordable housing units available.
One of the predominant reasons for more poverty is the high cost of housing. Strange how our quest for increased wealth as individuals has in fact created increased poverty. There are other factors which increased shelter populations. Less job security…. Later marriage…. Increased drug abuse and availability… Fewer mental health institutions… Lack of supportive housing… Closing of convalesant hospitals… I’m even willing to blame pop-psychology, but that’s another blog.
As for the problem of homelessness it is time we stop looking for reasons and started dealing with the here and now. Affordable housing will take the economic homeless out of the shelters and free up resources for those with real and complex needs. Research is all well and good, but there is a time for action and that time is NOW. It’s time to put down the pens and pick up hammers. Habitat for Humanity is planning 1.3 million affordable housing units for Canada…. Find out how you can help.