Individuals dealing with homelessness face numerous obstacles, but some are more visible than others. Beyond immediate needs such as food and shelter, people experiencing homelessness also require resources and environments to improve their circumstances and take back their lives.
Regeneration Outreach provides access to numerous services to help people who are dealing with homelessness. Below, we’ll share our firsthand knowledge of the surprising challenges that come with being unhoused and tell you what you can do to help end homelessness in our community.
What Factors Contribute to Homelessness?
At least 36% of all Canadians have either experienced homelessness themselves or know someone who has. Numerous factors can increase the risk of homelessness for a given person, including:
- Income inequality
- Lack of affordable housing
- Lack of family or community support
- Limited access to public services
- Limited access to resources for mental health and addiction issues
- Systemic discrimination
However, many people tend to conflate these potential causes of homelessness with the resulting challenges homelessness can bring. As such, there is a lack of proper public awareness regarding some of the most significant struggles people face while unhoused.
What Challenges Come with Homelessness?
Some of the needs that people living with homelessness have are easy to identify, but others are much less obvious. Having enough nutritious food to eat and a place to sleep are undoubtedly important. However, people who are coping with homelessness have other vital needs as well—and working to end homelessness requires us to be aware of them all.
Living without official identification can create additional barriers for those seeking to overcome homelessness. Not only do people facing homelessness require ID to apply for most jobs and social programs that could help improve their circumstances—but being homeless can make it harder to obtain an ID in the first place.
Applying for most forms of government ID requires the applicant to have specific literacy skills, enough money to pay the accompanying fees, and other forms of documentation to verify their identity. The longer a person has been struggling with homelessness, the harder these criteria can be to meet—and for people who grew up unhoused, they can be impossible obstacles to overcome alone.
For these reasons, Regeneration Outreach runs an ID Clinic specifically designed to help people who are unhoused obtain birth certificates. Having a birth certificate makes it easier for a person to apply for other forms of identification, secure employment, and feel human.
Many people experiencing homelessness do not have access to adequate healthcare. In Ontario, proof of address is mandatory for procuring an OHIP card, which allows the bearer to access provincial health services. As such, people who do not have a permanent address can find themselves unable to use even the most fundamental public health resources.
Regeneration Outreach offers physical and mental health support through our weekly Life Skills classes. We also provide additional resources through our Addiction Services program and have access to a nurse practitioner through our partnership with Peel Outreach. We work closely with all our community members to learn about their individual needs and strive to connect them with appropriate health care services.
People who are living without a home face difficulties cleaning their clothes. Many are also in need of new clothing but unable to purchase it for themselves. Regeneration Outreach approaches this problem in several different ways:
Our laundry services provide public access to washers and dryers 6 days a week, with laundry soap and dryer sheets provided. We also run a Clothes Closet to help community members replace worn-out clothing for numerous purposes—protection from the elements, preparing for job interviews, and more.
Access to Personal Hygiene Equipment
Staying clean and presentable is about more than being comfortable—it’s also about maintaining dignity. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people experiencing homelessness face challenges accessing many luxuries that others take for granted, such as showers and haircuts.
We provide access to hot showers through our facilities every day of the week during program hours, along with soap, shampoo, and fresh towels. We also partner with a licensed stylist to provide free haircuts during breakfast hours on Mondays and every other Saturday.
Structural violence and homelessness are closely linked, leading to lower life expectancy rates for people who are unhoused. We accept as many guests as we can at Regeneration Outreach and work hard to maintain a stable environment where every individual in our care is safe at all times.
Our Life Skills program includes classes on anger management training and relationship building, which contribute to safer and more stable conditions for the people we serve and those around them. Our culture is one of empowerment and respect.
Join Us In Fighting Homelessness
Homelessness creates a diverse spectrum of urgent challenges for the people who experience it and the people who love them. Our work at Regeneration Outreach allows these people to access various resources that can help them solve these problems, but we can always use help from the community at large.Whether you want to donate, provide essential items, or volunteer your time, we are always ready to accept your support with open arms. Contact us today and find out how you can become an ally in the struggle to end homelessness once and for all.