Belinda's Army - Belinda Place Shelter to be run by Salvation Army

You know, I never understood the connection between Belinda Stronach and the proposed homeless single women over age 26 shelter (York Region already has 7 various shelters that take women in despite what's publicized including both Inns from the Cold), and now with the announcement  - simply handing the reigns over to the Salvation Army Religion to run it - I understand even less - being that it's all taxpayer and fund raised money that's paid the way thus far. Some almost $9 million approved so far I might add...and counting. So where's the big connection? How is it that the Belinda Stronach Foundation attached?

It also tells me their committee or board has no grass roots input whatsoever or are far removed from it - certainly none representing those in poverty because none of them would ever agree to a Salvation Army or any Church run shelter from past experience dealing with them, and as well, having any particular Christian based denomination religion outfit dish out care, instead of accountable professionals, is never wise and could be exclusive to certain religious women in need.

Now this woman is grass roots knowledgeable and stayed in shelters in Ontario recently,

York Region male's shelter day program
" The Ontario's civil service says it does not keep homeless records as other provinces, i.e. Population region by region, etc. Those records are strictly "what the municipalities collect" and the information isn't needed by the Province!

Yes, folks, what we have here is a willingness to belittle and obfuscate other people's lives. Fellow citizens, people anyone of us may have lived beside or shared a sand box with, is willing to kill me or you, by the slowest and most torturous method they can - homelessness!

Recently the provincial government split the portfolios for the women and children's shelters from the men's shelters. Why? The division of data makes it harder to know the whole truth, is one reason.

I saw a fifth building with Salvation Army's logo, and wonder how much money Ontario funnels to them, too. The other night I was able to speak with one of the male residents in the local men's shelter.  He told me he pays $640 a month for a room and board. He also said they shut down the detox section of the building, and he's worried they'll shut the whole shelter down." Poetryontv ( woman shelter user)

So whatever happened to accountable York Region Housing's Blue Doors Shelters running it?

And has its namesake Belinda ever even stepped foot in a S.A. shelter or any shelter? I doubt it. Same with everyone tripping over themselves to do fundraisers - and where are they btw for a men's shelter which meets a much higher threshold for actual immediate need according to our own social audit, Behind The Masks, which its reccomendations were endorsed in principle by Y.R. Council, but which was completely ignored by even building this shelter? There certainly was no problem referring to an official plan to change zoning for them.

Excerpts from the 2010 social audit, prior to the new women's shelter build decision:

Men make up the majority of long term homeless, yet
account for a low percentage of all available
emergency shelter beds in York Region. The only year 
round men’s shelter is Porter Place with 25 beds.
Men are routinely steered away to other shelters in
other areas such as Barrie and Toronto. There is
currently no transitional housing for homeless men
in York Region. A new women’s shelter adding 40
beds to the stock including some transitional hous-
ing is proposed for the near future but there is 
nothing to address this dilemma with the men.
“When I was staying in Shelters I notice there was
a lack of recovery and lack of self improvement
Male in Newmarket, Behind The Masks, Y.R. Social Audit

I could go back even further to before they built the family shelter (btw they accept women too), which at the time, I reported they already had an existing building suitable to use, but the Region still tore it down citing a construction company report deeming it " too old" and that the foundation couldn't be fixed, yet the men's Porter Place Shelter, which is much older, was deemed fine? They then built a family shelter on the same property nearby. More $.

Even the local Y.R.M.G. media played into the misrepresentation publishing wording that lead people to believe there were no women's shelters in York Region (not true) whatsoever, by reprinting quotes claiming no women's shelter beds existed, or transitional housing, for any single women (also not true - youth shelters up to age 27 took single women as does Cross Links house all qualified single women).

Heck, the mayor of Newmarket ran the his election on it's coat tails quoting the misinformation at every opportunity he could, yet I noticed this past several International Days for the Eradication of Poverty events he couldn't make it - but could make a same day grand opening for a car dealership. At least he's open about what he is. I can almost respect that.

Homeless home eerily still in place after John Fletchers death
It's like everyone wants the glamour part of the slick websites, marketing campaigns, publicity and fundraisers, construction contracts, photo ops and election fodder but as it gets close to the nitty gritty of running this manufactured need ( majority need men still have only 26 full time beds in York Region shelters) it's dished off to someone else to run anyway - regardless what the people who will be using it think. Who need's the clients' input?

What happened to this being a special place with programs and the like designed by the Belinda's Place think tank..and what of all that wonderful collaboration talk we heard about as this was being sold on us all?

A former Newmarket Golden Gloves Boxer died still living here
Well, wear it proud York Region, because you bought it, and I guarantee you this mausoleum shrine you've built to worship whatever it is you blindly worship about Belinda Stronach, will be here long after she's gone for the winter...but..if there is a silver lining in all this - like York Region's housing, which doesn't mandate to provide for Y.R. residents first before those from outside the region, this new shelter will be the same - filled with women not from York Region. That my friends is their self declared 'hidden homeless", hidden out of town!

Here's a link to the video Behind, Behind The Masks, showing our politicians and workers are / were working towards making things better.Who knows, maybe they'll get on track yet!

Now we'll wait and see who 'champions" a shelter for men so they don't continue to have to be shipped out away from their families and support services if any and die young or homeless.. Although word up on the street is that Porter Place for Men, YR's only full time men's hostel, recently brought someone in who cares and is making a difference. Of course that's not anywhere near as trendy a sell as women's programs, nor is what is actually needed - which is affordable housing for all.

PACCMan out