My friend Suzanna and I were given the opportunity, on behalf of the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness, to write a blog post and letter to the editor as part of an ongoing campaign by Just Recovery Simcoe to keep topics like homelessness, racism, and the environment top of mind as our local COVID recovery is developed.
We used the opportunity to remind readers that housing is a right, and also to repeat a version of my favourite line about affordable housing:
Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I thought my first blog post should be a quick explanation of why things are changing around here.
As 2020 wore on, my peppy little change-the-world brand was fitting less and less. It felt inadequate. Maybe even inauthentic? I was feeling less peppy, and more pissed off. A CBC podcast I listen to sometimes was calling 2020 "Year K," because some people were actually benefitting from the pandemic, while others were absolutely bearing the brunt of the shutdowns and the health risks - there was a split. A divide. We were not all in this together.
And I watched/participated in the charitable sector's response. Most charities have always been about band-aid solutions - focused on addressing symptoms more than root causes. But I found this more and more frustrating in 2020.
I also saw some charities interpreting COVID-19 precautions and guidelines in ways that absolutely stripped program participants of their human rights - people with nowhere else to go being forced to swap dignity and privacy for shelter and food. Infantilized.