Letter: Majority of homeless are not on the streets by choice

Editor: The letter by Sandra Steffan (the Times, Sept. 30) is one of the most biased, self-centric and ill-informed pieces I have ever read.

I am currently looking to buy a house in Langley and reading a piece as such makes me doubt my choices, as I would not want to be represented by authors such as Sandra.

It is great that she lives in a little fairy-tale perfect world, but majority of homeless people are not homeless by choice.

Stats Can shows that over 86 per cent of homeless suffered traumatic events (e.g. house fire or job loss), personal crisis (e.g. family break-up or domestic violence), mental health and addictions challenges (including brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome), which can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness and physical health problems or disabilities.

Relational problems that include family violence and abuse, addictions, and mental health problems of other family members and extreme poverty are also leading causes for homelessness. There is an undeniable connection between domestic violence and homelessness.

Family violence, estimated to affect two million Canadians, (Statistics Canada, 2011) can force individuals and families to leave home suddenly, without proper supports in place.

This is particularly an issue for youth and women, especially those with children.

Women who experience violence and who live in poverty, are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness.

Young people, that are victims of sexual, physical or psychological abuse often become homeless.

As well, seniors that are experiencing abuse and neglect are increasingly at risk of homelessness.

Natasha Fedyushina,

New Westminster

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