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Behind Everything is the Homeless Crisis



by Cindy Wang


Canada is known for its diversity. It has been hailed as a land of opportunity, welcoming thousands of individuals from different backgrounds every year. Amidst the vibrant communities that adorn the streets of Vancouver, with their soaring skyrises, bustling condos, and smiling faces, lies an issue that remains largely obscured—the pervasive homelessness crisis.


Home to over 600,000 inhabitants, Vancouver has evolved into an industrial and technological powerhouse, leading to a surge in housing costs. In 2021 alone, housing prices escalated by more than 15% (Chan, 2021), further exacerbating the homelessness situation. Presently, over 2000 individuals find themselves living on the streets daily, their plight overshadowed by the city's progress.

Efforts have been made to address the crisis, such as housing initiatives near my own neighborhood, shelters established in the East side, and the availability of low-cost resources on a weekly basis. However, despite these campaigns, the numbers continue to rise, raising concerns about the prevailing indifference towards those affected.

Recently, I had a brief yet impactful experience at a local soup kitchen, where I learned invaluable lessons. Behind each wrinkle and smile, I discovered warm hearts and compelling life stories—tales of regrets and sorrows, triumphs and successes. Irrespective of appearance, background, or belief, each person held a shared desire to improve the world we inhabit.

As I offered care packages to those departing, a transformation occurred before my eyes. Their faces revealed an understanding that behind the veil of indifference, there existed compassion and hospitality. This encounter left me with a deeper appreciation for the importance of addressing homelessness and the richness of human connection even in challenging circumstances.



 

Cindy Wang is a sophomore from Vancouver, Canada. In her spare time, she volunteers for several local care package organizations. She loves playing her violin and hanging out with her goldendoodle.

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