How three of Toronto Shelters are run,  the  perspective of the homeless. 

The following text was written by a homeless person, as a compilation of how many homeless men men think about the three shelters examined.  You may notice, the text is well written, that is because he is well educated, as many of Toronto homeless men and women are.

I emailed this person, – homeless people are big users of email, and mobile phones, asking he tthink about his own experience, that of other homeless people he knows. I reminded him of a number of homeless people he knows, and there experience. He emailed the draft, I asked for some deeper into, he provided the second draft which is published here. 

From my discussions with hundreds of homeless people in the past year, this I a very good descriptive account.

Homeless Shelter Differences.

While purporting to offer the same services each shelter has an entirely different character.

Seaton House is on four floors and includes a separate hospital wing for alcoholics and drug addicts. On the fourth floor. there is a preponderance of wheelchair patients and people requiring constant medical attention. For this reason there is a nursing station that operates 18 hours a day. The staff are somewhat brusque. The staff seemed indifferent to the needs of the residents. A visit to a worker is not a pleasant experience. Interviews are held entirely without privacy in an open office which is occupied by two other workers and their patients.

Little attention was paid to cleanliness and as a result rats, mice and cockroaches were often visible. It was permissible to stay at the shelter all day. Although smoking was not permitted a blind eye was often turned to smoking in toilets and bedrooms.

The Good Shepherd This  operates on four floors. First floor reception and dining area, second floor administration offices, Third Floor DARE program for alcoholics and drug dependencies. Fourth floor general ward and TV Room. Reception staff were kind and considerate for the most part. It was hard to decide if they were operating as a shelter or as a drop-in centre. Breakfast was served at 7.00am. Breakfast was boiled eggs on 6 days per week. Residents were required to have left the building by 8.00am. Intake was at 5.30pm Supper was at 7.00pm and usually consisted of stale Tim Horton doughnuts. Curfew was at 11.00pm. The separation of those on the AA and drug rehab program with superior food and privileges created dissatisfaction and unrest amongst the others. It was hard to reconcile the Good Shepherds aims to be a shelter when they evicted most residents before 12 months was up.

Salvation Army Gateway. Four storey building with the first floor operated as reception and drop-in centre/dining room , second floor admin. Offices and the third and fourth floor as shelter accommodation. There is a combination of male and female staff that is generally appreciated. The staff mingle freely with the residents and are generally helpful. They seem genuinely please to receive people in instead of regarding it as a chore.. There is nowhere comfortable to sit. The meals are varied on a weekly basis but pay little attention to a healthy diet as is same in all the shelters.

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