The Transitions of Homes

by The Nommz on March 16, 2015 - 5:15pm

      Imagine a life where you cant eat three meals a day, you don’t have a warm bed to snuggle up in a night, and that every day you struggle to find a new place to sleep. This is the life of a homeless person, a life where there are no excesses and hope for a better future is non-existent. According to the Wesley institutes study on homelessness produced back in 2013 over 20,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night, and a reported 200,000 a year. These numbers don’t even take into account the hidden homeless, homeless people who live in the houses of friends and close family. 50,000 people fall into the category of being hidden homeless across Canada. According to the CBC in a report made in 2013, the majority of Homeless within Canada are “Transitional Homeless” this figure stands at 176,000 to 188,000 people. Transitional homelessness is when individuals or families have a one time homeless experience.


  People transition to being homeless after loosing a job, being severely injured and cant pay bills, or gain a chronic illness. In the resent years after the recession of 2008 the number of these types of homeless people have increased. With more individuals loosing their jobs or being let go because of a disability, the burden on shelters initially intended for the chronically homeless has increased. While the numbers of homeless in general has not increased, the number of homeless staying for longer in shelters definitely has.  Families and individuals who are transitional homeless are staying in the shelters intended for the care of the chronically homeless.



 It is of this reason that the public must support further construction of transitional housing. Being the Majority of the homeless population, as well as the most capable to get out of their homelessness it is vital that they are kept out of the shelters in order for the more deprived to be tended to. Non-profit organizations like the “Canadian network of shelters and transitional Houses” provide a safe place for the nights ahead and get funding through donations and supplements by the government for the construction of transitional houses. Organizations like this are taking up the mantle that the government is slowly abandoning. Funding by the federal government decreases every year, and the pressure on Non profit organizations is at an all time high in these uncertain times. To prevent the Chronically homeless from starving out due to the influx of transitional homeless, the average citizen must try and do their best to either donate or help in anyway they can. 




This article is strong in terms of explaining the difference between long-term homelessness and transitional homelessness. I found the statistics that you provided to be useful in understanding the scale of the homelessness problem in Canada. However, the article can be improved even further if you were to make your argument for the duty of the average citizen to help homeless people. As you mentioned, the 2008 recession increased the number of transitional homeless people. This also means that the economy overall became more strained compared to before, and citizens might feel that the money, either in the form of personal savings or in the form of tax dollars, could be better used on other areas of public interest. In response, you could say that, according to the deontological framework in ethics, people have certain moral obligations that they must always fulfill. In this case, people have a duty to help those less fortunate than them in whatever way that they can. Specifically, Immanuel Kant proposed the categorical imperative, which states that one should always do what one wills that everyone should do. Indeed, to combat homelessness, if every citizen contributed by donating according to their means, as if it were a universal law, then society would make much progress towards reducing homelessness in Canada. Thus, you could have used ethics arguments to call for action, which would have made your article much more persuasive. Overall, though, it is still very informative and convincing.

The article you wrote provides a very good understanding of the state of homelessness in Canada. As you said, the major problem does not reside in the increasing number of homeless people, but instead in the extended period that those individuals stay in the shelters intended to help them. In your article, you propose that the public should support the construction of transitional housing to remove the non-chronic homeless people from the shelters created for the chronically homeless populace. However, you do not further explain how those transitional houses differentiate from the typical shelters. The name suggests that admitted individuals will only be allowed to stay for a limited time, but it does not specify how the length of that period will be determined.

To confront this matter, you can use a utilitarian approach. Based on the teleological framework in ethics, this system aims more specifically to provide the greatest good for humanity. In the case of homelessness, humanity does not only include the homeless public, but also the rest of the citizens. According to the CBC article that you used for your post, shelters for long-term homeless people “account for more than half of the resources of the homelessness system”. Thus, a great portion of the taxes paid by the working population to support the current shelters mostly goes to those chronically homeless individuals. From this perspective, you can argue that transitional homes would contribute to reduce the costs of the homelessness system, which represents a benefice for the entire society.

Indeed, to satisfy everyone, it is necessary to find an appropriate center. The most important part involves the transitional houses. Those institutions need to set a program to maximize the reintegration of those “transitional homeless”. The faster those people start to work again, the less time they will spend in those transitional houses, which reduces the costs of those establishments. The second part requires, as you mentioned, the financial contribution of the non-homeless population. However, we want to reduce the needed amount of resources to please also the working citizens. Once that middle is established, the society would function more efficiently and be more cost-effective in regard of that matter. Nevertheless, since that perfect line has not being discovered yet, your final argument could be that transitional housing focuses on finding an adequate middle to beneficiate both transitional homeless and non-homeless people.

Your post brings to light important issues regarding the homeless situation. I was not aware of how numerous the homeless population was in Canada, nor was I aware of the issues that Canada has regarding transitional homelessness. You are right in saying that people who are homeless are more deserving of a spot in a homeless shelter compared to those who are transitional homeless. The alternative option of building more transitional houses is better suited for the families who have suffered through a tragedy of this kind. Despite this those who are homeless are sometimes deserving of living in these homes since they have suffered through the most. Looking at this issue from a utilitarian perspective it does not matter who receives the chance to live in these homes, as long as homeless people are being helped out it is considered morally right. Following a teleological perspective, similarly to utilitarianism this process is morally sound. There may be issues with a deontological point of view since people are deciding who are deserving of living in these homes and many are left out to live in shelters. Your solution to prevent further cutting from the program is a possible solution as it allows for more homes to be built, giving people more of an opportunity to live in these homes.

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