An unsustainable program (by Guest blogger Pat Capponi)

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 mentally ill, with schizophrenia, manic depression, and PTSD,  as well as those with long term addictions to drugs like crack cocaine. In this group, poverty is the norm, days are spent in drop-ins or waiting in packed agencies for assistance that never seems timely or appropriate. These aren't people who can hide the toll taken on their bodies, spirits, minds and hopes by years of exclusion, dependence, and 'otherness'.  They are carrying with them some…
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Obscured by self… (by Guest blogger Pat Capponi)

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 cause barely a ripple, no obituaries, no weeping relatives, no sign we were ever here, except for thick files in dusty cabinets, destined for shredders, in order to make room for new files, new clients, who will share the same sad fate. We are the cast-offs, the social irritants, lying on grates through the winter, hanging in back alleyways, servicing Johns, on street corners pleading for change, lined up for hours for a loaf of…
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