As humans, we need to sleep. It is a biologically unavoidable act. Yet, on both sides of the border, “sleeping” can be considered a criminal act, especially if you are homeless and have no place to rest your head other than in public spaces such as parks.
Just off a bustling urban street, in the heart of a middle class Canadian community, I came upon an elderly man wilting in the low lying shrubs, mere feet from heavy traffic and visibility. He appeared unconscious, perhaps brought on by the searing summer temperatures that had pushed the mercury above 30 degrees Celsius.
Homelessness in Canada remains a national crisis despite the best efforts of social groups, housing advocates and all levels of government. In the 2014 State of Homelessness in Canada Report Card released last week, the most startling number remains that on any given night 35,000 Canadians have no place to call home.