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Sad chalk message on the sidewalk

Friday morning I was walking to work along Somerset Street. It was a drizzly morning, so this sidewalk chalk message was probably still fresh yet destined to disappear almost immediately.

As I stopped to take a picture of it, my old friend Mike, who lives on Somerset Street, stepped out of his apartment building. We […]

Ottawa Citizen outs mentally ill man

On Saturday the Ottawa Citizen ran a story called Pleas to help mentally ill son ignored, mother says. It was in Hugh Adami’s column, The Public Citizen.

Complete with names and a photograph, this article provides detailed personal information about a 22-year-old man who lives in Ottawa’s shelter system. The information was supplied by his mother.

The […]

Ottawa Police break sleeping man's bones

Once again, there are more horrifying allegations of brutality lodged against members of the Ottawa Police Service.

A woman and her teenaged daughter found a man sleeping on the sidewalk early Saturday morning. She called 911, expecting the police would help the man. When they arrived, according to the woman, they shoved him around and […]

Creating the right places

Yesterday we spent the afternoon filtering another 4,000 bottles of wine at The Oaks, for the Managed Alcohol Program. I learn a lot there, and it’s not just about winemaking. One of the managers is the chief winemaker while the original chief winemaker travels the world. Since filtering wine involves about 20 minutes of waiting […]

Ottawa’s Homelessness Report Card

Yesterday the Alliance to End Homelessness released their annual report card on how Ottawa is doing on the homelessness issue.

Not so good, apparently:

Based on a selection of indicators in each category in 2009, compared to those same indicators in 2008, Ottawa scored:

D for homelessness
E for length of shelter stay
C for housing
C for income.

If […]

Cathy Crowe, Insite and the Knit Signal

Cathy Crowe is running for Member of Provincial Parliament in the Toronto Centre by-election, where the incumbent, George Smitherman, is stepping down to run for Mayor of Toronto.

This was the first piece of political news in a long time to give my heart a hopeful little leap.

Here’s what Naomi Klein says about her candidacy: […]

Let’s help Ottawasteph avoid eviction

Here’s a novel use of the Internet. Ottawasteph is “a winner on a losing streak.” She was laid off in July and she and her five cats could be homeless by Christmas unless we help her stave off an impending eviction. She’s 45 years old and has lived in her home for twelve years.

There’s […]

Homelessness Forum and the Managed Alcohol Program

I spent yesterday at the Homelessness Forum, which was sponsored by the Alliance to End Homelessness.

This is my third year attending and blogging about this event (see 2007and 2008). I like it because it’s free. Actually, that’s an over-simplification. Because it’s free, it attracts the kind of people who might not normally attend conferences, […]

The emergency shelter for young women

Being unemployed has some perks. For example, I get to spend a lot of time working on my godawful Nanowrimo novel. And I get to go for long walks around the Experimental Farm on these glorious sunny afternoons, and be part of the energy and noise of huge flocks of crows and geese preparing for […]

Helping make a bad week better

They’re saying the two downtown fires at the women’s shelter and the women’s rooming house are unrelated. Foul play is being blamed for at least one of them. Regardless of how they happened, one woman’s dead and an awful lot of women on the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder are suddenly even more precariously […]