Tag Archive

Much of my life I have been a struggling low income person: Guest blog by Pamela Chynn

Published on March 1, 2015 By johnastapleton

I am talking today as  a struggling  university  and  journalism  student, as  a  person  who has  on and off  been on  social  assistance,  as a person who  has  been  on  unemployment insurance a  few times, as  a  person who  has  a  couple  of times  been technically homeless  and  has  been through the surreal  roller  coaster […]

Guest Blog from Tess: When your child turns 18 on a low income: Three big changes for a lone parent

Published on January 13, 2015 By johnastapleton

This guest blog from Tess underscores the problems faced by families living on a low income in subsidized housing. It goes back to an essay I wrote for Metcalf titled ‘Why is it so tough to get ahead?’ While today’s parents know that their children may have to live with them long past the age […]

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair -Guest Blog from Pat Capponi

Published on November 16, 2014 By johnastapleton

Those of us who make up the OW and ODSP rolls, who haven’t worked for years, who have struggled with homelessness, addictions, mental illness and abuse, are at a crossroads in this city. We need to understand that, unless we really start to confront the stark choices we’re facing, there will be no real opportunity […]

Guest Blog from Pat Capponi: When Deb Matthews meets with Smokey…..

Published on July 25, 2014 By johnastapleton

When Deb Matthews meets with Smokey, the OPSEU head, wouldn’t it be cool if she said: “Smokey, we are on the cusp of great possibilities when it comes to those who are burdened with mental illness, addictions, trauma, and poverty. ” We have in ignorance wronged this population, now that that this ignorance has been […]

Guest Blog from Tess: Without warning! How government can empty out a bank account and leave you with nothing

Published on May 19, 2014 By johnastapleton

I’m a single mother of two boys.  One is living with me. We get help from Ontario Works and live in subsidized housing.  My son who lives with me is in high school full-time. He was born when I was his age and in high school. I finished high school. I finished two university degrees. […]

Hoping for genuine efforts to address self-identified needs: Guest Blog from Pat Capponi

Published on March 29, 2014 By johnastapleton

What if the archetype of the mad, the lonely dishevelled man screaming and scaring passersby on big city street corners could be transformed into a contributing citizen, not through the efforts of those institutions  which claim to change lives, but through genuine efforts to address the self-identified needs of the ‘ chronic patient’: decent supportive […]

The Sad State of Social Services – Guest Blog from Pat Capponi

Published on February 15, 2014 By johnastapleton

One of the most instructive exercises we do with group members at Voices From the Street is to ask what would have helped them avoid the life path they’ve been on, lives mostly filled with pain and challenges and want, decades spent on the streets, in shelters or housing that is barely safer than a […]

Here is your diagnosis and your bullet proof vest: Wear it in poor gealth (by Guest Blogger Pat Capponi)

Published on August 4, 2013 By johnastapleton

“The only way I could think to do this was to ask myself if, God forbid, there is another shooting of a person with mental illness, what would we say we’d left undone?” That was what I posed to myself, police board chair Alok Mukherjee and Deputy Chief Mike Federico Tuesday, July 23, as we […]

An unsustainable program (by Guest blogger Pat Capponi)

Published on January 28, 2013 By johnastapleton

It seems simple, and I can understand the frustration as the numbers continue to rise and few people labelled mentally ill appear willing to take the steps necessary to leave the ODSP rolls.  Without knowing this community, their history and their struggles, that frustration will continue. My experience is with those who are labelled seriously […]

Obscured by self… (by Guest blogger Pat Capponi)

Published on April 4, 2012 By johnastapleton

We are the intractable poor, those who’ve been years- sometimes decades on OW or ODSP, whose world is limited to agencies, drop-ins, food banks, Money Marts, and some of the worst housing Toronto has on offer. Men and women with no future, no hope, broken by the struggle to simply survive, whose lives and deaths […]

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