On a recent zoom call regarding housing and homelessness in Canada, one attendee said we are living in a moment in which we have an opportunity to have a major impact on the issue of housing and homelessness. Amid the fears, disappointments, sadness and apprehensions we have all endured this past year that the Covid pandemic has caused, I tend to agree that we are living in a moment. There have certainly been similar moments in time when mankind had the opportunity to make systemic changes in how we govern, live and address how we can make our world a better, kinder and more inclusive place to live. I would not attempt to judge how we have failed or succeeded in the past but I would to like comment on the now and the future from a Vincentian perspective.
I think to live in today’s world and to experience what has happened in our recent history of the past 3-4 years gives us all a chance to look at why things have happened and how we may not only learn from these experiences but gain an understanding of the need for dramatic systemic changes that can make an historically significant shift in how we address the root causes of poverty. Consider how the tragic events of last year regarding systemic racism led to the Black Lives Matter movement and in turn has resulted in many of us looking at ourselves and how we can change in our understanding and support of diversity and inclusion. In many ways it seems there has been a more adversarial element to government and an emphasis on issues that divide people rather than unite. Even this is showing signs of healing. Covid 19 has resulted in many deaths, unemployment and insecurity, both financially and socially. We have also experienced or seen many instances of people doing more and showing more concern for the welfare of others. Those who are living in poverty or are homeless have suffered greatly.
If we can take all of these terrible events and by living in the moment, commit to using what we have learned during times of such uncertainty to make the changes needed we can take this moment in history and make it a positive one for all. Let us live for today and tomorrow. Let us remember and learn from these tragedies and let us add some good memories for now and always.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.