Many low-income people in Canada cannot afford basic shelter, and that is because, as a society, we have failed to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing. In light of the enormous wealth of our country, and its commitment to providing opportunity and/or social safety nets for everyone, it’s hard to believe that there are thousands of people across the country, living on the streets in various, and often temporary shelters, and in our over-crowded jails.
The familiar generalizations and stereotypes of homeless people, such as grubby men and women, sleeping in doorways and carrying everything they own in a shopping cart, are beginning to become undermined by the reality of the situation. The “new homeless,” are those people who have been thrown out of work because of plant closings, people getting forced out of apartments by rising rents, and condominium conversions that renovate rooming houses into expensive single-family homes, and others that are simply unable to meet mortgage or rent payments because they must work for low wages.
Virtually all homeless people have one thing in common: poverty. How do we eliminate poverty? Well first we must decide whose responsibility it is to do so. One side of the debate places responsibility on personal traits of the homeless themselves. Perhaps one-third of homeless people are mentally ill, and many others are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Some, for whatever reason, seem unable to cope in a complex and highly competitive society. These people don’t choose this kind of life, it is forced upon them.
On the other side of the debate, advocates assert that homelessness results from societal factors, including a lack of low-income housing and the recent economic transition towards low-paying jobs. (Kozol, 1988; Schutt, 1989) Supporters of this position are quick to point out that fully one-third of all homeless people are now entire families, and children are the fastest growing category of the homeless. The closing of a plant, for example, sometimes makes it necessary for an individual to take a part time or low paying job, earning at or around $15,000 a year, which makes it virtually impossible to support a family.
When trying to explain homelessness, or even poverty in general, we are quick to look at several different factors as to what might lead a person to poverty. We look at factors such as age, education, race and ethnicity, gender, and family patterns, each which have their own explanations and exceptions. Proponents from one side of the issue hold that the poor are primarily responsible for their own poverty, and the other side views the issue as being that society is primarily responsible for poverty. Each explanation has won it’s share of support. Indeed it should be clear then, that both society, and the poor themselves, need to contribute to the solution.
No one disputes that a large proportion of homeless people have personal difficulties to some degree, although how much as a cause, and how much as an effect, is difficult to straighten out. But we can not deny that structural changes in the Canadian economy, coupled with declining governmental support for the low-income bracket, have also contributed to the homelessness problem. People need jobs, that pay them enough to afford adequate housing. People must have the opportunity to earn the income necessary to pay for housing. Increasing the supply of low-income housing, other than shelters, is one important step. Homelessness, however, is not only a housing problem, it is a human problem. People who endure months, or years of insecure living, come to need various types of social services.
Some 4 million people in Canada are officially classified as poor. About 1 million of the poor are children and young people under the age of 18. About one fifth of the population of Canada belongs to the low-class, who live near or below the official poverty line. Our lack of progress in eliminating poverty prompted a United Nations committee to sharply criticize the Canadian government “for allowing poverty and homelessness to persist at disturbing levels in one of the worlds richest countries.” Many Canadians concur with the UN committee, and agree that our government needs to take a much more active role in eradicating homelessness. A comprehensive response to homelessness must consider both personal and societal dimensions of the problem.
THE HISTORY OF OUR NATIONAL DISASTER
Encarta World English Dictionary defines homelessness as: (1) with no home: having no home of any kind; (2) people with no home: people without a home of any kind. A great number of people have heard of homelessness, and many people think they have a good idea about what it is and what it means to be homeless, but we'll come back to a better definition later.
What you might not have heard too much about lately, is the fact that in 1998; more than ten years ago, Canada declared homelessness to be a national disaster. Homelessness has not always existed in Canada, starting only as late as the great depression of the 1930's, but it's pervasiveness has grown as a result of our collective actions and rather, our inactions as a society. Even more serious for the homeless themselves is the fact that, for several years, many of our government's political priorities seem to have missed the problem altogether. So what happened?
Is Politics to Blame?
In the early 90's, Canadian politicians decided that the government's role in society should move out of the "housing business," as Ontario's then Premier, Mike Harris, so eloquently put it. They thought that the government could not deliver what Canadians needed, at least not as well as the private sector could. As a result, housing production fell completely into the hands of the private economic realm.
Ideological propositions from the free-market side of the debate, suggest that the abandonment of government intervention would produce better, less expensive, and more abundant housing, however those things have never materialized. Those forces have however, increased the wealth of those land-owners, landlords, the real estate industry, and the construction industry, while leaving a growing rate of poverty and homelessness in their wake. Since 1993, when the federal government abandoned the national housing program, hundreds of thousands of low-income families, senior citizens, singles, people with disabilities, urban aboriginals, new immigrants, and those with serious health issues, have been forced to live in sub-standard, almost third-world housing, temporary shelters, or in the streets.
Politics is not like sports. In sports, there are usually two sides, using the same technology, grappling for victory. For example, let's look at one of our cultural past-times, and let’s say that hockey is the technology. In a hockey game, there are two teams playing in one arena, and the objective is for each team to score as many points as they can. The team with the most points at the end of three periods, gets the victory. Politics is very different. First of all, there are many sides in this arena, which are often misleadingly grouped into what appear to be teams. These teams are all using different technologies, and all grappling for their own victories. Imagine an arena full of hockey teams, football teams, baseball teams, soccer teams, lacrosse teams, and curling teams, all fighting for their own independent victories. This creates much confusion, and after lengthy deliberations, debates, and debacles, coming up with policies that work for all sides is rare. On top of that, we have three levels of government who see the same problems, but they continuously pass the buck on to the other level of government. Each side is happy pointing fingers of blame at one another.
Is the Economy To Blame?
We can not fully blame our crisis on politics. At the same time as the government left housing to the private sector, the Canadian government was trying to come up with an economy that would lick the deficit and create more jobs. So what ended up happening was, they replaced well-paid, full-time work with low-wage, part-time work, thus reducing the incomes of Canadians. Most politicians, economists, and media commentators portrayed the new economic situation as a win-win scenario. They said that everyone was doing better as we beat the deficit, and as more jobs were created. However, the deficit-cutting policies were focused on reducing the social safety net, by cutting back on payments to needy individuals--senior citizens, the disabled, students, single parents (mostly mothers), and those who are unable to find work--thus further reducing those people's incomes.
The construction industry is big business which provides major economic activity in Canada. But these corporations quickly learned, that the way to make more money was to build less and charge more. So in 1989, for example, 37,279 new rental units were built, but in 1998, only 7,287 were built, a drop of over 80%. Construction of new co-operative housing units fell from 3,839 units in 1989, to 71 units in 1998. A drop of 98%. Social housing completion reached a high of 19,621 units in 1992 but plummeted to 1,439 units in 1998. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) found that there are an estimated 96,000 households on "assisted housing" waiting lists in large urban centers, furthermore nationally, the total is likely to be double this number. Since Economics 101 tells us that when demand is higher, the prices go up, we can easily see that Canadians are spending more for a basic human need: shelter. Across Canada, "NO VACANCY" is becoming commonplace.
Clearly, the roots of the homelessness problem are deep into our social, economic, and political ground. Here’s a quaint little story for you, about just that kind of thing. In 1991, a man Canadians know, Mr. Paul Martin Jr., the millionaire ex-CEO of a major Canadian corporation, and a policy leader in the then opposition Liberal Party, who had a prominent position on the front benches of Canada's Parliament, said this: "...all Canadians have the right to decent housing, in decent surrounding, at affordable prices...there is currently a vacuum in federal policy and direction...only the national government has the financial resources to address the full dimensions of the needs of this country." 2 years after this speech, he became Finance Minister, then years later, Prime Minister of Canada.
However, from the mid-90's on, there has been virtually no housing policy in Canada. In one of the most ultimate of Canadian ironies, the Habitat II world convention, which took place in Istanbul in the early 90's, gave Canada an award for it's remarkable housing programs. At the same time as the award was being presented to Canadian representatives, Paul Martin's federal budget was axing those award-winning initiatives, and leading his government into the most rapid dismantling of social infrastructure Canada had ever seen. With the termination of these programs, along with the insufficient availability of affordable housing, and the other economic factors mentioned earlier, healing the wounds of poverty became a seemingly hopeless task.
ROOTS OF THE CRISIS
North American ideology has long held the belief that, through perhaps a little talent, or a lot of hard work, people can make their dreams come true. For generations of immigrants, as well as the Canadian-born, this territory has been a land of opportunity. In the last few decades, Canada--as well as much of the industrial world--has been going through economic restructuring and upheaval that has undoubtedly upset normal patterns.
Although Canada has, in the past, held a tradition of greater government involvement in the economy than say, our American neighbors, for the most part, our government allows the market to move prices for products up or down, according to the supply of sellers and the demand of buyers. The market thus coordinates the efforts of countless people, each of whom is motivated only by self-interest.
Government however, makes important contributions to the economy, in areas that people won’t do, because most are only out for profit. Most of the contributions are things that people wouldn’t do, even for a profit, and these are all ideas that we are fully aware of, such as national defense from an external enemy, or construction and maintenance of major public projects, such as roads, medical care, education, social security, and social housing for a few examples. Lately, Canada has been privatizing many of these services, putting at risk our widely embraced philosophies of collectivism and egalitarianism. As we have seen time and time again, diminishing federal involvement in the economy erodes Canadian traditions of essential public services. The purpose behind these services is to be able to better control and engineer the condition of society, by producing and ensuring equality of positive outcome for all.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, (or NAFTA) is the free trade agreement that was signed between the United States and Canada in 1989, and extended to include Mexico in 1994, which pushed Canada in the direction of reduced government interference in the economy, American control over the Canadian economy, and more corporate power and control, which, by it’s very nature, threatens our values, our national identity, and the quality of life for all our citizens. Some of the industrial production that provided highly paid jobs for Canadians, has been transferred to the United States, and to developing countries overseas.
In fact, even throughout the negotiations of the NAFTA, companies were already moving to Mexico, from both Canada and the US, in anticipation of the open borders. They did this as enormous groups of people were protesting this in both the US and Canada. While industrial jobs migrate out of the country, more Americans and Canadians were put out of a job and had to look elsewhere for work.
In the new economic shift, a growing proportion of the new jobs being created in Canada had to be within the service sector, which often requires lower skill levels, and pays poorly. In the meantime, a large number of highly specialized jobs remain unfilled, because Canada has not produced a workforce with the required skills. The standard of living in Canada has stopped rising, even though women and men, at all points in the life course, are working harder than ever, and more families have two or more people in the labour force to support themselves.
The mixed performances of both Canada’s government and economy through the 80’s, 90’s, and the first decade in the new millennium, has not generated any good news on this front, but for some reason, the debate is continuous in respect to the role of government in the economy, for job creation purposes, income maintenance, and the alleviation of poverty. It’s time for the government to reclaim its right to ensure adequate housing.
When discussing an issue such as poverty, we must look at it in two terms. Relative Poverty, which is by definition universal and perhaps inevitable, and it refers to the deprivation of some people in relation to those who have more. Much more serious, is Absolute Poverty, which is a deprivation of resources that is life-threatening. I think it’s fair to say that most of us have a good idea of what Absolute Poverty looks like, for we have all seen those heart-tugging images and stories you see on TV of the third-world countries where entire families live in unimaginable neediness. It still seems hard for many people to believe that, here in affluent Canada, with our social welfare safety net, healthcare services, security services, and so on; that entire families go hungry, live in inadequate housing, and endure poor health because of this kind of wrenching poverty, but it’s true. The absolute poverty here in Canada is shocking. In fact, in 1996, 17.9 percent of the population of Canada had incomes below the poverty line. That number is horrendous for any society, but certainly for a high-income society such as our home and native land.
As we all know from those ads on TV that we just talked about, sometimes we need to be shocked out of our apathy; and shown dramatic examples before we are able to connect all the dots. So that is what I will try to do for you. Let’s go over a few of the most simple questions when it comes to this, or any issue. The most common types of questions, are: Who, what, where, when, why, and how, etc? Who are the homeless? What causes their homelessness? Where are the homeless people found? When did this happen, why did this happen, and how did this happen?
A generation ago, the elderly were at the greatest risk for poverty. By 1990, the poverty rate for women and men over the age of sixty five was 19.3%. 5 years later, the rate was slightly lower than 18.7%. Although the situation for the elderly has slightly improved for our seniors, the sheer growing number of seniors suggests that this category will increase in poverty in the near future. In 1992, Canada’s 372 food banks were serving, on a regular basis, two million people. 40% of those people were under 16 years old. In 1995, almost 1.4 million young Canadians, were classified as poor. That is 21% of our children.
Fresh in the minds of many Canadian memories, is the winter of 1995-96, when Toronto churches provided emergency overnight accommodation for the homeless. Most were the “working poor,” or people who labour up to 50 hours a week, and yet cannot escape poverty working for minimum wage. Even a full-time worker could not push themselves above the poverty line. The volunteers were also shocked to see the faces of families appearing on their doorsteps. Some were evicted by landlords when reduced welfare payments could no longer cover the rent.
In the same winter, at least three homeless people froze to death while huddled in their makeshift shelters. One man, who died under a high-way ramp, did not even have shoes on his feet. His body was frozen to the concrete and could not be moved away until it thawed. Hourly news reports captured the terrible pathetic drama; scenes which still occupy the thoughts of many Toronto people’s minds. In 1997, in Wood Buffalo, Alberta a man was found dead after being deposited by garbage truck. The dumpster which had been his shelter could not keep him from freezing to death. In Ottawa, 1998, a pregnant teenager was discovered dead, frozen, under a bridge. Similar sad stories emerged across the country as these dark community secrets began to be talked about.
The faces of Canada's homeless appeared more and more often in the media as, city by city, the homelessness rate kept rapidly growing to become perhaps the biggest social problem in Canada. A study by Dr. Richard Fung, of the emergency ward at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto, counted over 100 deaths of homeless men between 1996 and 1998 (the counts for women were not done).
Canadian's common understanding of homeless people had been limited to alcoholics, drug addicts, wanderers and eccentrics. These stereotypes often make the problem seem more remote, and not as big of an issue. They also redirect attention to the personal problems of the individual, while missing the point that the root cause of their homelessness is clearly a lack of funds for appropriate affordable housing.
As individuals took it upon themselves to scour the depths of our social, political, and economic processes to find answers to the growing crisis, through many inquiries and studies, a new summary of the causes of homelessness came forward. Dr. Anne Golden and her team, produced the following report summarizing these causes. It is quite clear that the roots of homelessness in Canada are the following:
From The Toronto Mayor's Homelessness Action Task Force Report (often known as the "Golden Report").
- Increased poverty due to the changes in the structure of the labour market as well as public policy changes.
- Lack of affordable housing due to the dwindling supply of low and medium cost units and the withdrawal of support by the federal government.
- Deinstitutionalization of those who suffer from mental or physical illness and addictions as they lose their jobs, homes, and personal identities.
- Social factors such as domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, and the alienation of those individuals.
That doesn’t really put a human face on it though, does it? The word "homeless" clearly expresses a condition, which is hard to imagine not understanding what it means. Canadian housing researcher, Alex Murray, asks us to take a new definition of homeless, from our idea of what the opposite should be, or in his words, "homefull."
Home is the physical center of the human existence and our lives revolve around it. Home is a lot of things. What does it mean to you? Home is where we create and nurture the next generation. It is where we want to raise a family, as we were raised by the previous generation, in our parents home. Home is where we have our roots, our continuity, our privacy and our security. It's hard to imagine, not being able to say, "I'm going home,” or “I can‘t wait until I get home." Imagine not having somewhere to call your home, where you can feel comfortable, safe, private, and free.
Murray outlined that the day-to-day features of home life are completely absent to those who are homeless, and we must try to put ourselves in their position. So the word "homeless" is not so hard to comprehend, but the word "homelessness" carries a much deeper meaning, with powerful images, all bringing to mind a moral pertinacity which therefore, is more difficult to define.
When talking about any subject, the way in which it is defined establishes the terrain of the debate. Definitions become the tools that justify action or inaction, depending on who is doing the defining. In terms of defining homelessness in the past, people usually got one of four things wrong.
The “Minimalist” Approach
1. Defining homelessness as being too small and not a problem at all. Some would say that this approach would call it only “rooflessness.” This view looks at homelessness as only the individual choices that people can and should make for themselves, but decide not to do so. Many people who think this way, do so out of sheer inexperience, naivety, or they are intentionally uncooperative and obstructive.
The “Blame the Victim” Approach
2. Defining homelessness as being only their problem. Victim-blaming terminology has a long list of definitions that receives constant updating. There are many words for defining a homeless person in this manner, such as…
Beggar Gypsy Rambler Vagabond Bum Hobo Rover Vagrant Drifter Pan Handler Street Rat Wanderer Floater Prostitute Squeegee Kid Wino...and the list goes on.
These labels and stereotypes as definitions can lead to policy changes that aim to only stop the behaviour of the homeless people. They offer simple solutions such as banning pan-handling and squeegeeing. They create legislation to make it illegal for the homeless to sleep on park benches or even for them to loiter in the parks. Needless to say that, although these “solutions” are being used, homelessness has not disappeared as a result.
The “Not In My Back Yard” Approach
3. Defining homelessness as being a problem that is someone else’s (not mine). These people may even deny that there is any homelessness problem, and they certainly deny that it is any way their responsibility. The “NIMBY” strategy pushes the responsibility for the problem away from the definer or the institution that the definer represents. As a result, it rarely matters to the speaker whose responsibility it should be, but only the shifting of the obligation away from them was important in the definition. These people usually reject any compromise, because they may be determined to achieve some other political aim.
The “Maximalist” Approach
4. Defining homelessness as being a problem that is so colossal that it is too hard to solve. People often wrap themselves around so many aspects of homelessness that they run the danger of immobilizing themselves, and others, because of the immensity of the problem.
All of these definitions of homelessness have been used to absolve the government, and all of the rest of us, from responsibility. Fortunately, the United Nations pronounced 1987 to be the “International Year of Shelter for the Homeless” and they formally attacked the issue. Along with their shocking reports and statistics, came the very first functional definition of homelessness.
refers to individuals living in the streets with no physical shelter of their own, including whose who spend their nights in shelters.
refers to people living in spaces that do not meet basic health and safety standards, including:
-protection from the elements
-access to safe water and sanitation
-security of tenure and personal safety
-accessibility to employment, education, and healthcare
-provision of minimum space to avoid over-crowding
Now included in the definition:
- People who are at risk or vulnerable to homelessness in the near future, and who need short term assistance to avoid being on the street
- People who can become independent, but require housing as well as other supports, such as literacy and employment training etc., to manage on their own
- People who have substantial and often multiple difficulties, but with help may be able to live autonomously in group homes
- People who need continuous residential care in an institutional setting
This includes all those men, women, and children, living together, or on their own, in the streets, or in the shelters, or temporarily or precariously housed, whether in a programmed setting or another social setting, including with friends or with family, or those living in commercial single rooms, such as hotels or motels, with no other permanent home of their own.
Peter Oberlander and Arthur Fallick wrote a report in 1987 that made us really think about the broader issues. “Is homelessness an issue of poverty? Or employment?…Is it an issue of discrimination? Or of location? Of education? Or is it primarily an issue of measurement? Varied evidence increasingly points to the answer. It is all of these factors, and more.” Homelessness is not simply a lack of a roof. It is a life in disarray.
So, looking at a proper definition, it is easier for us to see all of the real problems, and therefore we can determine what to do to solve the problems. In recent years, it has been left up to only a few generous people to help solve the crisis. A committed network of community workers and anti-poverty activists set up organizations all over Canada which do a terrific job of helping out whenever, and whoever they can.
Why has the Canadian government left it up to the public to handle what, by their own admission, is a "national disaster?" The public is doing an astounding job, but the average Canadian is not able to tackle the homelessness problem. Core Housing Needs is a term developed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to count the number of households that are unable to afford a suitable, adequate, median-rent units.
These households show one or more of the following concerns.
-their home or rent costs more than 30% of their income
-their home is too small for the household size and composition
-their home lacks necessary facilities or needs major repairs
In 1996, there was approx. 1,670,770 households in Canada in Core Need. Even more shocking is the fact that statistics are showing that these numbers has been rising ever since. Over 1 million of those in Core Need have a yearly average income of $14,600. There is a range by province from $11,600 to $17,500 but, for our intents and purposes, we are taking the average, just to get a rough idea. These tenants pay on average 47% percent of their income on rent. Remember that these are only the averages. Roughly half of these households are worse off than described. When the number of households are converted into people, we have over 150,000 thousand people living on the streets, over 1 million people in danger of losing their homes, and over 3 million people who are in serious difficulty.
Canadian housing policy expert, Jeremy Carver, wrote in the 1940's that families should not have to pay more than 20% of their income on housing. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to afford some of the basic necessities of life. Just to add another basic point to this thesis, I definitely want to make it clear, that not only us Canadians are faced with these problems of a.) the industrial and commercial shift from high-paid, full-time work, to lower-paid, part-time work, b.) the "free-market" system raising the price for housing and c.) the lack of affordable housing. Around the world these trends are pervasive.
All three problems leave millions of people world-wide with the inability to pay rent and cover other living costs, which is the principle cause of homelessness. Of course, one might argue that other countries have it much worse than we do, and I for one, will certainly not dispute that fact. In fact, I think we should be discussing these points as well. For if we can discover the roots of homelessness in Canada, and work on a path to correct and eliminate this problem, it is also possible for other nations to do the same. Perhaps one of the biggest points I hope to make, is the fact that, if we had been helping people who are at risk of homelessness, or if we had been placing people who need even more help in rest homes; if we had been acting before it became a problem, we would be seeing fewer numbers of homeless people today. These simple ideas can be put into practice today and we will start saving lives.
The Way Forward
Here in Canada, we live in a democratic society, ruled by reason, and not by force; ruled by ethics, and not the almighty dollar. Government is the way in which we are supposed to determine the allocation of our resources. Housing is one of these resources. We used to stand up for those people in need. But it seems that we don't anymore. We used to care about our fellow people, but apparently, we don't anymore. If you think that isn't true, then perhaps we just have a terrible memory. Perhaps it is our forgetfulness that is to blame.
In 1954, The National Housing Act said that the government of Canada is supposed to take action on affordable housing.
"The purpose of this Act, in relation to financing for housing is to promote housing affordability and choice, to facilitate access to, and completion and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance, to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing at low-cost, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector in the national economy."
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, declared that:
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care, and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness disability, widowment, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control."
With those bold words from half a century ago, we see that housing is a basic human right and we have a responsibility to make sure that all people have access to it. So how do we do that? Well first of all, to stop the fact that rents rise faster than inflation, we must legislate a mortgage and rent cap of no more than 25% of the tenants income. This will help us stop the leak. We can't just throw all of our money, and time, and effort, into the top of the proverbial bucket of homelessness if we still have a leak at the bottom where the root of the problem lies.
Mortgage and Rent Cap
One way to stop the leak, is this proposed mortgage and rent cap, so that no Canadian has to pay more than 25% of their income on housing. You could make it a law that landlords and banks etc. can not charge more than 25% of the tenants income for their housing. Or you could have the government help the tenant pay their rent, by way of the government paying for rest of the cost…but I'm sure you'd notice that the government would much rather just have the rent cap, rather than pay people’s rent at market prices the way they are now. Automatically, the rate of homelessness will drop, as low and middle-income Canadians will finally be better able to afford their housing.
Constructing a Healthier Housing Sector
Secondly, a healthy housing policy in any country should have the following components. Rental housing, ownership housing, social housing for those who can't afford anything else, and supportive housing for those people who require special 24 hour assistance. Within the rental and ownership housing sectors, there must be low-income housing, medium-income housing, and high-income housing, to accommodate all of the people.
This means that in order to solve our problems, there is going to have to be a lot of construction in the very near future, to build homes for all of these people, or to fix up and maintain the homes that exist. I'll come back to exactly what those numbers are in a moment. They are exhausting, and I don’t want to you lose you now.
In order to begin this new effort, the federal government will have to create and exercise construction and demolition control. Legislate a one-for-one policy that would require that the elimination of a housing unit would have to be replaced. Hotel and motel conversions into condo's for the rich people must also be stopped, as low-income housing is what is most needed. The loss of our relatively few affordable units must be stopped. Next, we really have to ramp it up with construction of low and middle-income housing and rental units.
Furthermore, all vacated buildings, even empty garages in back alleys, or lands no longer needed by the city, or province, are to be considered for new housing projects. For example, I once lived in the top floor of a house which had been renovated to fit two apartments, (as we will discuss in a moment). Outside, there was an empty 1 car garage, that had been abandoned, and was eventually torn down. This could have been renovated into a third suit, to accommodate another person. A little repair and maintenance can go a long way, and small homes can be built for those who need it. Land-owners could even charge rent, and start making a profit of this business enterprise, however, the maximum anyone could charge for rent will be 25% of the tenants income.
Many homes have a second unit built within it for a renter, some have more than one. A "second suite" is a term for the houses that have been renovated to accommodate another living space within the home. Often these houses used to be filled with a family where the children have now grown up and moved out on their own, and these gigantic houses have so much room to offer, but with no one using it. For renters, second suites often run at prices that are less expensive than any other apartment. This could help us further drive down the prices of rent. The government needs to offer 90% subsidization for the construction of a second suite within the home, to accommodate more affordable housing units. Subsidizing the cost of putting up a little drywall and adding a bathroom, is still far less expensive than the construction of a whole new house.
Rest Homes and Shelters
Rest homes and senior’s centers are other aspects that are of top priority. People on the other side of the debate, who always raise the kinds of questions as, “who are the homeless, and what are they doing wrong?” The answer is, at least for the elderly, that they are doing nothing wrong. For one thing, age is something that no one has any control over, and it happens to us all. The proportion of elderly people in Canada has risen from 4% in 1900 to 12% today, and by the middle of the 21st Century, estimates suggest that at least 25% of the population will be elderly. No one can deny that more needs to be done to safeguard our maturing residents. To do this, we will have to construct new rest homes in every populated area in Canada. Any community with more than 1000 people will have to construct new senior’s homes to protect the aging population, and all centers that already exist must be restored, renovated or repaired, to better suit the needs of the people. Then, of course, we need more emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and detox centers. As we said, many of these people have individual problems, but all they really need is help. The need for construction of these types of centers is less obstinate, as our new plan to effectively house these people should lower at least some of the need for such places, as people will be better able to take care of themselves.
There are many tasks and planned programs of work that require large amounts of time, effort, and planning to complete, but the success and achievements of these planned projects has already been noted, and we must continue to labour towards the intended results. Street projects are people who are actually out in the real world, trying to help out those in need.
These outreach programs I am talking about, save many lives each year, and we can expect those numbers to continue with our additional help. For example, we need to be helping out initiatives such as Project Warmth, which passes out blankets and sleeping bags to those people in need. Street Patrol is a group of people who check on the people in the streets, and even in the nooks and crannies, to make sure that people are safe. It is time we expanded these programs, nation wide. Especially success stories like the ones from Street Health, which is a mobile health service, with emergency medical buses, complete with a fleet of medical vans, which delivers health care to those who are in need. We can improve these services.
In order to effectively eradicate homelessness in our nation, we will first need to increase the public awareness of homelessness, and the will to end it. Our government should make a cheap “national disaster” pamphlet, that quickly describes homelessness, using the help of people who are actually homeless in the initiative. If the next government of Canada wanted to do something really special, they could eradicate homelessness, and forever be remembered in Canadian history. They should just send out one of these cheap informational pamphlets to every mailbox in Canada, and this will get the ball rolling.
All you really have to do, is tell everyone that, despite what the common understanding might be, it is possible for the Canadian government to do something worthwhile. It is possible for government to shape society, to create a better way of life for all. We can do it. We can create an ideology that says that “Canadians are going to eradicate homelessness.” It is altogether right that we should do this. It is fittingly “Canadian,” that we should do this.
This simple task, of spreading out pamphlets, spreading the word, and beginning to get something done, will not only raise awareness of the issue itself, but it will spark a movement that may put more action towards our goals. The political party who supports the eradication homelessness in Canada, and then accomplishes that goal, will become valued as a national treasure. In doing so, they will be protecting the Canadian way of life, and they will actually create new heights of the standard of living for all. This way of life is a familiar ideology to all Canadians, who live to see justice, fairness, and equality of success for all. Government involvement in all of these areas is necessary, and needed now.
Another government initiative that we need right now is a new 24 hr. National Emergency Hotline, that is no charge, so that a homeless person doesn't need 25, or 50 cents, to make a call if they need help. This new hotline will be used in such a way that it does not tie up the ambulances, and police. A new national hotline service that will be used instead of 9-1-1. If a homeless person is in trouble, or is in need of any assistance, they can call this new number and receive the help they need. This is also for the passers by, who may see a homeless person and may want to help. People can just call up the hotline, and either find out what to do for themselves, or they ask for the help to come out to them.
Have you ever been in the situation before, where you see a homeless person and you genuinely want to help, but you don't know what to do? You ask yourself, "What can I do? - I'm only one person - I can't give them all that they need." You ask yourself, "Is it my responsibility? - What should I do? - Do I give them money? - How much money should I give? - What if I give them money, and they just go buy beer?" This can be a hefty burden. So what do you do? With a national hotline, you know that yes, you can help, and you might even save a life if you call this number. How about 1-1-9, or 1-800-GET-HELP, or 1-800-MEDICAL, or 1-800-CAN-CARE, or 1-800-FOR-FREE, or 1-800-OUR-HOME… It really doesn’t matter. We need to just pick a number.
This feature alone will save many lives. Imagine that you see a homeless person, and they look like they are freezing. Call up the number, give a description of the situation to the operator, along with your location. Soon Street Health or an operation similar to that, with emergency medical buses, would be immediately dispatched to that location. The help will arrive shortly, and they can offer various services such as free food, clothing, blankets, and sleeping bags. Even if some people are unwilling to accept any of the other help offered, such as any and all of the following: basic shelter, medical or psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation from addictions, social and economic counseling, job training, or affordable housing, these basic services will be offered to everyone they meet.
All of these programs exist today. Mostly various non-profit organizations offer these resources. If the Canadian government was to get their act together, and continue working on the second phase of healthcare services, without a doubt, they should be adding basic shelter, medical and psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation from addictions, social and economic counseling, job training, and affordable housing, to the list of second phase healthcare, which is basically all about preventative medicine. Preventative medicine protects everyone. The government should be subsidizing all of these factors for the homeless, and indeed, for all of Canadians.
We also need to consider that even when we solve the “home” part of homelessness, all of these people will need a job, to pay for their homes, their food, and their families. This requires a much more efficient human resources management system, which can help re-socialize these people. On top of that, these people are going need some kind of transportation to get to work. It shouldn’t be too hard to see that many of the homeless people do not have adequate transportation. With prices of gas and oil the way they are now, it won’t be long until the price of gasoline becomes a major contributing factor to the homelessness problem. This is especially troublesome in more rural areas, where the commute to work can cost a significant portion of your earnings for a day. So, we also need to create as much public transportation as possible. New fleets of government paid taxi services, could be a bright idea for the future. Right now, we need to consider both free bus tickets and transportation allowances.
Building A Community
From now on, all municipalities in Canada must have policies ensuring that special needs housing can be located in any neighborhood. All forms of government must remove, or at least modify, the barriers that create extra costs of construction, add taxation, add development charges, and outlaw any policies that are designed to prohibit affordable housing.
Today, too many neighborhoods are able to use zoning laws to prevent a reasonable share of this kind of housing, and these kinds of services from being used in their community. If attempts were made to block people on the basis of skin colour, religion, or other cultural trait, those people would find themselves in a case at the Supreme Court! The same equality and human rights issues arise in the context of housing. If we are to restrict access to housing for those people who are suffering from poverty, or from the lack of affordable housing, or any other social factor, we should be charged for alienating people in the same way. Communities can also set up their own organizations to help relieve tension in their own neighborhoods. They can set up a food bank so that needy people can get food. They can set up some sort of a bank, for medical and hygiene products, a rent bank so that needy people can get a small loan to help them pay their rent, or their utilities, or to prevent them from being evicted. Just a little bit of help goes a long way.
Communities can get together to build their own rest homes for senior citizens, the disabled, and care homes for people that require 24 hour service. They can build their own Drop-In Child Care Centers to help parents look for jobs or access work more easily. Most communities have room. Once people put on their "thinking caps," opportunities will present themselves to transform unused or under-used land into vibrant homes. For example, main street redevelopment is a good way to add homes to community, with apartments above the stores below. This is a great way to find affordable housing. Abandoned buildings or garages can be redeveloped into shelters, or parking lots can turn into apartment buildings. It doesn't take much.
The following story comes from the current leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada, Mr. Jack Layton, who witnessed this ordeal. Jack served as a Toronto city councillor for 20 years, where he led the campaign to tackle homelessness. At city hall, Mr. Layton co-chaired the Homeless Advisory Committee, which to this day, provides a vital policy link to the front line workers, and people who have experienced homelessness. He served as President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in 2001-2002. FCM developed a coalition of municipalities from across Canada, to work together for a renewed federal housing policy. In my opinion, he is one of Canada’s leading homelessness experts.
He told a story of a group of people, some old and some young, and all were trying to find shelter in a winter storm, in an old abandoned warehouse. The floors were about to cave in, the roof could tumble down on them at any minute, and there were rats everywhere. Finally they were found, huddled around a small fire, which was filling the entire building with toxic smoke. The health of those people was in serious jeopardy, so the community wanted to help. They were able to round up two transport trailers, installed doors and windows to meet the fire chief's specifications, public health ordered portable toilets and a generator for heat and light. The homeless themselves even helped build it. When it was finished, the homeless moved in to their shelter and used it all winter. Isn’t that a great story of a community helping out people in need?
Well, that’s really how simple it is to save a person’s life; to save a lot of people’s lives. We just need to come together to build some homes for these people. As we said, it is going to take a lot of work and the numbers are exhausting, but that should give you an idea of just how urgent this actually is. The numbers only continue to grow, so we must act now.
Well, it’s time to come back to those numbers we talked about earlier. As I mentioned before, we are going to have to get the government back into the housing business, and they will have to start constructing homes. So, how many do we need? We said before that we have over 150,000 thousand people living on the streets, over 1 million people in danger of losing their homes, and over 3 million in serious difficulty. By my calculations, with the prescription I've outlined previously, and the construction we are about to go over, we can eliminate homelessness in Canada, in roughly a decade. To do this, we need to build 200,000 new units a year, of low-income housing, for ten years, making 2 million new units. That is an average of 15,385 units per province, per year, for ten years. Each unit should cost roughly $70,000 which would all together cost, $14 billion a year for 10 years. That equals $140 billion. We also need to build 50,000 new rental units a year for 10 years. This create 500,000 new units. That is roughly 2500 apartment buildings, each with 200 units, which is an average of 192 apartment buildings per province, in ten years. If each building costs roughly $10 million to build, this will cost $25 Billion.
We would also build 6500 new seniors homes in ten years, which is about 500 per province, at about $2 million each, totaling $13 Billion. We would also build about 1300 new child care centers over 10 years, which is roughly 100 per province, which at about $1 million each, totals $1.3 Billion. We would also build 325 new rehabilitation units or detox centers over ten years, which is 25 per province, each which should cost about $2 Million, coming to a total of $650 Million. All of this together will cost, $179,300,000,000. Just for easy figuring, let’s round up, and say that is about $200 billion dollars. $200 Billion divided by ten years is $20 Billion a year. This will build roughly 2,510,600 new homes in 10 years housing approximately 5,500,500 people. $20 Billion a year for ten years, would effectively eliminate homelessness in Canada in a decade.
Those numbers do seem appalling don’t they? But now we know it can be done, so maybe we should just spend $40 billion a year and get it done in 5 years. Or, if you want to be a little more conservative, we could spend $10 Billion a year and get it done in 20 years. But, we also know, that the cost of doing nothing is much higher. As time goes by, the numbers increase dramatically. If we don't want to pay $100 billion a year for 10, 20, or 30 years, we'd better act now.
If you feel powerless, wake up. You can save the world. If you are interested in joining in the fight to end homelessness, here are a few suggestions of things that you and I can do to help.
**I just showed how much it would cost to fix homelessness in Canada. If it can be done in Canada, it can be done all over the world, it will just cost more money to complete. We see that the costs are very high, which is why it is so important to begin now, before the expenditures become even greater. The United Earth and this new economy is so important because it is determined to resolve these problems. We know that the problems can be solved, it will just take courage and determination. In Resolutionism, the government of the United Earth pays the costs.
These ideas may be the some of most important things that any of us could ever do in our fight against homelessness in Canada, and they can be applied to many other areas where social activism is needed.
Check if your municipality or community is active in the fight to end homelessness. If no, ask why not?
Write a personal letter or e-mail directly to your elected representatives.
Always send a copy of what you written to at least one group that is already advocating change. You will find support. Our voices in combination are the most effective.
Link your efforts to the already existing initiatives being developed to end homelessness.
Get a few friends together and make a formal appointment to meet with your local elected representative; whether that be mayoral, provincial, or federal.
Be prepared, by staying in touch with the issues that are important to you.
Know exactly what you want, by way of a commitment
-ask where they stand about the issue -ask for their policies in writing about the issue -ask what they have done about the issue -ask what they plan on doing about the issue
Remember that highly-paid lobbyists, developers, landlords, and lawyers, are all chomping at the bit and pushing their agendas to benefit their clients.
-We must never miss an opportunity to fight back.
Get The Word Out
Form a group of your own, or join an existing organization, to help the cause. Check your local newspapers, and contact the people or groups that are pushing the government to act.
VOTE! Put pressure on Parliament by using the public opinion tool, which is forever tested to find out what Canadians want.
LET THEM KNOW. We Can Eradicate Homelessness in Our Lifetime. Let us.
There are people who still can’t get over their stigmatic beliefs that most homeless people are drunks, or druggies, or worse. This view tends to become obstructive from the main objective. So what? Do we forget about them? The United Earth is determined to purge homelessness and poverty from the face of the Earth, by learning all that it can about the causes, effects, and the possible solutions to all of the problems those issues generate.
We can start this today, without the help of a new world government or economy, but with Resolutionism in place, it would become a reality. We can already do a lot to improve the safety and welfare of all people, by constructing more institutions like hospitals and clinics, that are intended to detect and help prevent illness, through regular checkups, and general maintenance of physical and psychological well-being.
As we talked about earlier, we want to advance all Primary medicine and health care coverage, and we want to add new sectors to that field in Secondary and Tertiary health coverage. One institution that will be involved in this improvement will further combat the problems of homelessness and poverty. The United Earth will create many new Wellness Institutes, which can advance the provisions of health and welfare, especially maintaining and achieving this wellness through medical treatment, counseling, training, a good healthy diet, and regular exercise. The new world government would be able to create these establishments to help improve the lives of all people. Some of these places will be strictly dedicated to the urgent and growing problems of poverty. These are the Wellness Institutes I will discuss here.
These Wellness Institutes are so much more than soup kitchens, or emergency shelters, or a place to sleep. Of course they serve free meals to people of the lower income group, and they do provide temporary accommodations for people in need or without a home. They also house a medical practice, and offer many different kinds of health care services.
But, this place is even more than that. These places help people to return to good health or a normal life by providing training and therapy to the people who come to them. These organizations register their guests for a period of time, allowing a semi-permanent residence, monitoring and improving their health and wellness. They will be working to make a positive change in the life of the guest or patient. Once a person registers, they can stay for a day, a week, a month, or a year, or whatever it takes to get those people back into shape.
People can come to the Wellness Institute to receive whatever help they need. Whether they are looking for a bed for the night, if they need to get clean and sober, or if they need to straighten their lives out, they can register with the front office, even if they have no phone number, social insurance, I.D., or anything; we can start an individual file for the guest, and we can begin to help them from there. A registered guest will be treated as a patient who is need of assistance, so we will provide it.
Wellness Institutes offer beds for about 50 people, 50 registered guests, and 12 small families. We have a food court that is open 24 hours a day. We have doctors who examine the registered guest’s physical condition and determines what kind of treatment would be best to improve their physical health. We have a gym with physical trainers who can help patients become more physically fit, usually with a planned program of appropriate physical exercises which are aimed at improving the patients strength, co-ordination, and physical health. We have counselors, who examine the registered guests mental condition and tries to help the patient assess, cope, and deal with their problems in ways that will improve their psychological health. We have rehabilitation care units for patients who want to overcome their addictions to chemical substances or other harmful stimuli. We have human resources management teams that re-institutionalize the patient, get them job, an apartment, and a life. We can help give people the skills required for functioning successfully in society.
All of these departments work together with the same common goal, which is to improve the lives of the patient. We want to be able to help those people get back onto their feet, so that they can get jobs, and have a place to live, and be happy, productive members of society. We remember that socialization is a very important process that we all go through, where interaction with others helps us learn the patterns of our culture, and it is the process by which we develop our own personalities, and moreover, this process helps us realize our concepts of “right” and “wrong.” So, we will re-socialize patients, letting them take part in social activities, allowing people to meet and interact with others in a friendly way, so that people can realize the good and warm feelings of living as part of a community, rather than being alone.
We want to aid those who need it. For those people who do not want to register, but require shelter for the night and perhaps a meal, we offer only 50 rooms with 1 bed, so that we can offer the most basic of necessities for 50 individuals. This is not a large number, but we can offer some assistance to those people. For people who are ready to make a positive change in their lives, we can do a great deal more. We want to put the patient back on the right track.
For the registered guests, there are 50 rooms We want to put the patient in an apartment that they can afford. We want to put the patient in a job that they can respect, so that they can happily earn a paycheck. We want to put families into homes, children into schools, we want to help seniors retire, and we want to help all people to live more comfortably.
Each registered guest will join a program that is designed to last for a period of limited time, meaning that guests will be able to take up temporary residence with the Wellness Institute, until a time that they are ready to rejoin society. This process may take a few weeks for some, a few months for others, but we will help all registered guests. That is our commitment, and that is our guarantee. Until the time that the patient is ready to become a fully functioning member of society, they will have a private room, and a temporary home. People need a phone number and an address on a résumé. We can give it to them. There have been criticisms, one of them being that these institutes offer too much accommodation. People may take advantage of our good natures, and they may abuse our system. People argue that when the Wellness Institute lets people have a home, people will not try to find a new one. They argue that people won’t learn to achieve anything if we give them hand-outs. We’re not giving hand-outs. These people are down, and we’re giving them a hand back up.
We are helping these people manage and organize their lives so that they can succeed. After a person comes in and registers with the Wellness Institute, we can take the guest through a brief medical exam by a doctor to determine a patient's state of physical health. Next we initiate a brief psychological examination to determine the patient’s state of mental health. Those people who are judged to be extremely ill, unfit, or unsafe to live unsupervised and untreated in society will be given further treatment in another more qualified medical or psychiatric hospital. Those people who are in the state of being in poor physical or mental condition, that can be treated by us, will be treated by us.
Each patient will meet with the human resources management team, and they will be assessed on various levels, trying to determine the best course of action for rehabilitation and resocialization. The patient and the management team will work out a system of procedures or activities, that has a specific purpose that suits all involved. Each patient will work, like a part-time, or even a full-time job, as the routines that are scheduled are designed to get the patient back into the swing of things. Even though some things may seem boringly predictable, monotonous, or unchanging, repetition of positive habits can lead to positive changes in behaviour. Each day the patient will be encouraged to follow to guidelines of the program until the end of their term, and if the patient follows the curriculum we can guarantee a full recovery of the patient.
Each day, the patient will wake up, shower, and get prepared for the day. Once ready, they can go to the food court to have a meal. The kitchen is open 24-7, and there is always plenty of safe and healthy food for everyone. After breakfast, the patient will have appointments with the faculties of the Wellness Institute. They will see the counselors, the rehab specialists, the doctors, or the physical trainers, depending on their schedule.
Counsel, Rehab, Medical, and Trainer faculties will rotate shifts for all patients, to ensure all departments are used equally and effectively. After spending a few hours with these administrators of wellness, the patient will be able to receive their second meal of the day. After the patient has lunch, the patient will have an appointment their case managers, where further improvements in social mobility can be made. These sessions will consist of short but intensive teachings and study programs, to give knowledge to, or develop the skills and abilities of the patient. The management makes careful and painstaking efforts with considerable attention to detail, to establish within the patients, the customs of an accepted part of society, in order to help the patient fit societies requirements. Management is going to be collecting reports from the other departments, and they will be finding the best solutions to the situation at hand. They will be finding the patients affordable housing, finding them jobs, and they will oversee the entire operation from beginning to end to ensure positive results. After spending a few hours with the managers of wellness, the patient will be able to receive their third meal of the day, and the rest of the day is available free time for the patient.
Since more homeless people live in urban centers, we will build these Wellness Institutes in the areas with the highest populations first. In Canada, for example, I suggest that we set up 3 Per Province and 1 Per Territory as a good start.
Province/Territory Largest City 2nd Largest 3rd Largest
Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer
British Columbia: Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby
Manitoba: Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson
New Brunswick: Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton
Newfoundland: St. John's, Mount Pearl, Corner Brook
Nova Scotia: Halifax, Sydney, New Glasgow
Ontario: Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga
Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford
Quebec: Montreal, Quebec City, Laval
Saskatchewan: Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert
Northwest Territories: Yellowknife
Resolutionism tries to serve the public trust, by protecting the innocent, and helping people in need. People can come to a Wellness Institute and receive whatever help they need. We can start a new life for the guest. Wellness Institutes resocialize the registered guests, while improving the physical and mental condition of the patient, so that each patient has the tools to assess, cope, and deal with their own problems, in ways that will improve their health and happiness. We can help give people the skills required for functioning successfully in society.
Habitat For Humanity
One organization that has enormous courage, is already doing what they can, helping people in need one house at a time. Habitat For Humanity has built more than 225,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. With a presence in more than 100 countries, Habitat is a worldwide movement which seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. Through volunteer labour, and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple and reasonable houses with the help of the future homeowner families. Habitat houses are sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The new homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
The cost of houses varies from as little as $800 in some developing countries, to an average of roughly $70,000 here in Canada. Habitat for Humanity relies heavily upon the generosity of their volunteers. The number of construction volunteers also varies, but averages 30 volunteers per house. Volunteers also help with food, logistics, pre-build, and post-built activities, and in all levels of the organization. For information on all other Habitat For Humanity volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.habitat.org./
Resolutionism sets forth a way to end it all. The United Earth makes affordable housing for all people a top priority, and resolves to end homelessness and poverty housing all over the world, so that these issues are never again going to be a problem.
Resolutionist Economy solves GLOBAL POVERTY
Poverty is a problem that is found everywhere on Earth and the range is wide in terms of disparities. World-wide, the lives of over 1 billion people are at severe risk. At least 15 million people, mostly children, die every year because of a lack of proper nutrition. Half of the world’s population lives in low-income countries, that have yet to industrialize, and these people only earn less than 8% of the global income. What is worse, is the fact that most of those low-income societies distribute their wealth very unequally. For example, in Brazil, more than half of all farmland is owned by less than 1% of the people.
Poverty is a widespread social problem which is very complex, but it can at least be understood in it’s general outlines. For example, most of those low-income societies have problems that usually reflect inadequate access to pretty basic technologies, which most post-industrial societies may have been using for hundreds, or maybe even thousands of years. With such limited technologies, it is hard for people to gain an ability to develop the same skills, in any field of study, interest, or activity. With little or no specialization, technology does not advance and this creates a cycle which is hard to break.
Many of these societies have learned to farm the land but lack productive power that post-industrial nations have. For instance, many of these societies lack the ability to harness the power of steam, oil, gas, or other fuels. They have virtually no complex machinery. All of which results in low yields, and low surplus. This means that the society has no room for growth, because they do not have the resources to feed and clothe themselves with such a short supply of necessities.
Another trait that many of these impoverished low-income societies have in common is a high birthrate, and a high death rate. Since the rate of death amongst the young is so high in these areas, it is apart of their traditional cultural patterns to produce as many offspring as possible, and as a result, these nations often have high birthrates and face rapid population growth, despite the death toll from poverty. This continues to add stress to the already burdened society.
Many of these nations also have to contend with internal social stratification. One set-back in particular, is male dominance. Most low-income countries have to face this challenge, and change their excessive and prejudiced loyalty and belief in the innate superiority of men over women. As we mentioned earlier, a pattern amongst almost all societies is some degree of patriarchy, which is something that is being confronted today, but there is still much more work that needs to be done to empower women in all societies, to give them more positions of control, authority, and respect. Resolutionism opposes any laws or cultural norms that limit the education, income, and opportunities of either men or women, and makes clear the importance of such changes. As we’ve talked about so often, Resolutionism advocates change towards social equality for both women and men.
We’ve discussed how having no specialized production inhibits development of other human skills and abilities, but even more adverse is the fact that typically, these societies are very traditional, passing on their long-established way of life to future generations. When the people have only one goal, which is to multiply and survive, it is hard for them to understand that some of their cultural patterns will have to change, in order to survive.
While there may be small numbers of elites that may live very well in these poorest nations, in comparison to those people do not have enough money to take care of their own basic needs for survival, the majority of people struggle to survive with little or no housing, unsafe water, too little food, little or no sanitation systems, and an inadequate chance to improve their own situation. Resolutionism is devoted to the harmonization of systems to solve this problem.