• The Quebec government launches an information and awareness campaign on homelessness
Mar 31, 2015

“Nobody chooses to be homeless. But we can choose not to ignore them.”

 

 

Wendake, March 31, 2015 – The Quebec government has unveiled its first information and awareness campaign on homelessness as part of its Plan d’action interministériel en itinérance 2015-2020 (interministerial action plan on homelessness 2015-2020), entitled “Mobilisés et engagés pour prévenir et réduire l’itinérance” (mobilized and committed to preventing and reducing homelessness). The theme: “Personne ne choisit de devenir itinérant. On peut choisir de ne pas les ignorer” (nobody chooses to be homeless. But we can choose not to ignore them). Until April 19, 2015, the campaign’s message will be heard on radio broadcasts and seen on advertisements in Montreal, namely in metro platforms and cars and on bus shelters.

 

Awareness is a tool used to fight prejudices about people in situations of homelessness and foster more harmonious social cohabitation. Because indeed, prejudices surrounding homelessness abound. By gaining a better understanding of the factors that contribute to homelessness, it takes judgment out of the equation, and makes it much more difficult to accept the unacceptable, to close our eyes to the people who end up on the streets.

 

In recent years, the homelessness phenomenon of First Nations has increased in scope, both inside and outside of the communities. This situation is partly caused by the housing crisis faced by most First Nations communities in Quebec. The First Nations and Inuit who live in urban areas do not fare much better, since the demand for affordable social housing currently outstrips supply. Studies show that Aboriginal people are overrepresented in the homeless population across most big cities in Canada.

The problem lies with the social integration and marginalization of people in situations of homelessness. Homelessness is a social problem, and it is crucial that we acknowledge our collective responsibility on this issue. There are many misconceptions on homelessness. Many believe that living on the street is a matter of choice, when in fact, people become homeless after a lifetime of pitfalls, painful failures and difficult setbacks.

 

To show empathy for and solidarity with people in situations of homelessness, rather than judgment, is to take a step in the right direction. Once we understand the factors that contribute to homelessness, we can no longer condone the fact that people end up on the streets when we live in a society of plenty. This is why raising awareness about the homelessness phenomenon has been found to break down prejudice against people in situations of homelessness, and thus foster a more harmonious social cohabitation (action 17 of the interministerial action plan on homelessness 2015-2020).

 

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux has created an online information page on the awareness campaign, available on its website. You can consult the different communication tools at the following link:
http://msss.gouv.qc.ca/documentation/campagnes/itinerance.php [French only] 


 

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Source:          

Chantal Cleary
Communication Officer
Tel.: (418) 842-1540