Through working with our giving partners, and talking with those experiencing homelessness we have learned so much that we want to share with you. It has been a focus of ours since we started Toques From The Heart to give back as much as we can. With this in mind we wanted to share what we've learned.
What are the main causes of homelessness?
There are so many different factors that contribute to the issue of homelessness and no one individual story is the same. Root causes that come up more often are battles with mental health, addiction, unacceptance in their household as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, loss of employment, and not graduating high school. It may also be a combination of any of these. One of the most important things to understand is that each person's background is unique, even though they could stem from the same root cause.
Why do we say "Canadians experiencing homelessness"?
We always try to address those who are part of this community with the utmost respect for their situation. This comes with the understanding that labelling them as homeless is stating that it is a situation that they cannot get out of and it is their whole identity. We know that Canadians that are experiencing homelessness, regardless of how long they have been in that situation, are capable of escaping it and it does not define them as a whole.
What does someone who is experiencing homelessness need?
The individual needs of those experiencing homelessness change from person to person and it can even vary by the day. An important step in helping those in need is communication and understanding what they could need to help their current situation or their future situation. Even if they do not have a place to live they might not want to go to a shelter due to past experiences or personal preferences. Without proper communication you may be addressing an issue that is not their top priority at the time, ignoring their personal preference and choice.
What is the most common misconception when it comes to homelessness?
The most common misconception that surrounds this group of at risk people is that they are lazy and do not want to work. From having conversations with those experiencing homelessness, and the nonprofits/ charities that we are partnered with, we know that this could not be farther from the truth. As we talked about earlier in the FAQ, there are so many different reasons for someone to be in this situation. Even one of those factors would make it difficult to work. Combining that with other factors and the fact that they do not have a permanent home to go to makes employment very difficult to sustain. It is also not from a lack of trying, as many people who are experiencing homelessness have jobs but are not generating enough money to afford rising living expenses.
Is it okay to record those who are experiencing homelessness if I want to do my own donations?
When working with anyone, you would always ask for their permission to record them. This does not change if the person does not currently have a home, even if you are trying to do something good. You always need to ask permission and explain what you are doing in order to respect the dignity and personal choice of whether they want to be on camera or not. We are living in a crazy world of social media where everything is being shared. When doing something like this, it is important to remember what you are doing it for and make sure everyone involved is comfortable and knows what is going on and you are not breaching the trust of anyone involved.
What are some ways I can help those who are experiencing homelessness?
At Toques From The Heart we are providing a way for you to help address one issue that Canadian's experiencing homelessness have, and that is not having access to warm winter clothing. If you want to learn about more ways to help, you can sign up for our newsletter and receive our "Top 5 Ways To Help Those Experiencing Homelessness" PDF that can be found at the bottom of our home page.