Sometimes it takes a high-profile act of violence against a homeless person to bring the problem back into the minds of those who have become so desensitized to seeing people living on the streets every day, the head of a national advocacy group says.
“We want to always keep these issues front and centre, and it`s unfortunate that sometimes it takes such tragedy … to really raise awareness of homelessness,” says Carolann Barr, executive director at Raising the Roof.
“In a country like Canada, that really should be shocking to us.”
Barr’s comments came after two men were sentenced to life in prison last week for killing a homeless man in Nova Scotia, Harley Lawrence, by dousing him in gasoline and setting him on fire.
It was one of a spate of recent incidents that highlighted the plight of the estimated 235,000 homeless in Canadian cities.
On the same day a 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to attempted murder following an attack on Marlene Bird, a homeless woman living in Saskatchewan, who was cut and burned so badly that both her lower legs had to be amputated.