Vancouver: Homelessness

February 23rd, 2010
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One of the striking things about Vancouver to me was how much homelessness there is. Like my first visit to San Francisco, it was a stark reminder of how much less drug abuse and poverty we see in New York these days. Even now, recession and all, the presence of homelessness is nothing like it was when I was growing up.
So, seeing so many panhandlers out and about, not to mention the sketchy scene in Chinatown was jarring.
I hear that many groups are up in arms about the money going to Winter Olympics. It’s said that that money could be used to ensure that no one would have to sleep on the streets again.
I have no idea. As a U.S. citizen, I’m certainly in no position to call out Canada on its funding of social programs.
Further, I think that the argument judges that sports aren’t important. I’m not much of a fan myself, but I’d be deluded to say that sport doesn’t pull people together in a way few other things can. And I’d be arrogant to decide that my disinterest trumps the overwhelming support sports have worldwide.
As far as homelessness goes, I don’t have a solution, but I don’t know that throwing money at it necessarily resolves it either.

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