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Word Count: 944
In Canada homelessness is a rapidly growing social injustice The stigma and degradation faced day after day by the homeless people of Toronto is more than atrocious Our society is quick to assign blame while homelessness has become synonymous with idleness and lack of education Stereotypes and selective perception have blinded us from the true factors causing and maintaining this crisis We fail to see that at least 30 percent of people living on the street struggle with mental illness Mental disabilities coupled with lack of adequate housing make for a fatal combination This issue affects not only the individual suffering but also the persons family and the community as a whole More often than not a homeless person is one who had once been a productive member of society The individual living this life of poverty is little more than a prisoner They are imprisoned by a lifestyle that brings about a feeling of isolation hopelessness and embarrassment They are looked down upon by society and ridiculed They are ignored when asking for help and denied when seeking employment A psychological state of depression is inevitable especially for those already struggling with other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia For some anomic suicide may seem to be the answer For others a choice is not awarded as they lose their lives to the freezing nights or to untreated diseases Homeless life is no life at all To these individuals as well as to the rest of society a home is not only a place to live A home brings a feeling of security and belonging Those who have been homeless probably understand this notion more profoundly than those of us who have been fortunate enough to never go without A perfect example of this is seen in Linda Chamberlain a member of the Dream Team Linda suffered with mental disability partially due to and sustained by her life on the streets She had spent a
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