01.07.2015 07:56 AM

Two froze to death on Toronto streets yesterday

More here and here. The question I (and others, apparently) ask is this:


  1. Joe says:

    Before we get feeling too guilty here we need to find out a few details. Were there available shelters? Were the individuals informed about the available shelters. Did the individuals want to go to said available shelters?

    I deal with the homeless on a daily basis and there are individuals who are extremely hard to work with regarding basic shelter, food etc. I have tried, on multiple occasions to get some individuals into the shelter they are sitting in front of and they won’t go in. They have a bottle and they are happy to sit outside at -30 and finish the bottle. Others I have known are too shy to drink in public so they find a secret spot and indulge themselves until they pass out. If it is really cold out and we don’t know where their secret spot is we will likely find their frozen bodies in a few weeks. Every such death is a tragedy but after a while of working with the severely addicted you realize that no matter what you do, some of them are going to die based on action they undertake to feed their addiction. Personally I celebrate the ones I help get over their addictions and morn for those who die to young because of it but I don’t take personal responsibility for either outcome. It is the only way I can maintain my own sanity.

  2. A. Berry says:

    It doesn´t matter weither they knew where to go or not,thry died on a frigg–g stree in Toronto for humanities sake….sick, sick, sick….Plain and simple in a country like Canada. Anyong

    • Joe says:

      So just what civil right would you trample to force the severely addicted/mentally unstable/homeless into shelters on a cold night? I know one fellow whom I brought into a shelter who woke up at 2 AM and went for a walk. He wandered down an abandoned street, slipped on the ice and broke his ankle. He crawled a block and half back to a busier street where he was spotted and taken to the emergency ward of the nearby hospital. He said later that he thought he was going to die from exposure and was dangerously hypothermic when he was admitted. By law the people running the shelter could not keep him in the shelter against his will. He freely entered the shelter at 7 PM and freely left the shelter at 2 AM. BTW leaving the shelter at 2 AM is not highly suspicious as many of the people there have regular work and/or bottle collection routes.

      • A.Berry says:

        So? Are you sasying all people who live on the street are there because they want to be?? How Canadian you are.

        • Joe says:

          I work with the homeless EVERY DAY how about you? I know which are mentally incapable of making rational choices and which are not. I know the ones who hate their addictions and are fighting the noble fight to overcome them and I know which ones simply love their addictions and feed them at every opportunity. I also know the ones who take pride in living on the street and the ones who are ashamed of their present circumstance. I also know that no matter how grand a plan you come up with there will be somebody ignore every opportunity offered and end up dead from who knows what. Sometimes its exposure to cold, sometimes its violence sometimes its disease usually its addictions related.

          Let me fill you in on a few of the cases I dealt with in the last few years. My greatest celebration came in June 2014 when DK got married. I met him standing in line waiting for a mat at the local shelter. He is an alcoholic who lost his source of income (truck driver) when he was picked up for drunk driving. He stayed at the shelter for a year where I was able to find him regular work. Eventually we got him to phone his family and they gave him a place to stay. Since then he met his bride, got his licence back and he is on his way.

          ST was what I call a reasonable success. He was a binge alcoholic and an electrician. The excessive alcohol consumption changed his personality (he became mean and a bit paranoid) to the point where he could not find regular work in his trade. I was able to find him other work and he found a program to help him find permanent housing. He died of natural causes in October. We found his body sitting in his Lazy boy the TV on.

          AZ suffers from FAS, She is also a crack/meth addict. Her brain is pretty much fried and her body is breaking down to the point where she can not work. We put her in a sheltered housing complex where we expect her to remain until she passes on. She has terminal bowel cancer.

          DM is my most frustrating case. He is a black out drunk. When he has the money he will drink beer or vodka until he passes out. He will awake several times during the night and resume drinking. He is a very talented man and I can usually find work for him unless the beer smell is too strong. He takes pride in living at the shelters and thinks that this would be good training for young people. He refuses any kind of addictions counseling because he simply loves to drink.

  3. Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    How do you force them to go inside? Have health workers on patrol with police to find and take them in on “in order to protect from doing harm to themselves or others” by-law.

  4. Robin says:

    A reporter once asked Mahatma Gandhi what he thought of western civilization and he replied: “I think that would be a good idea.”

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