Homeless Underpass

There are 9000 homeless living in the streets of Toronto this winter. There are thousands more in shelters. Still, there are not enough shelters, and some folks just don’t want to go there.

I’m doing the east wall of this underpass, starting at the north end.

There are, I estimate, over 50 people living in this underpass.

It’s very dark and dank, with eerie lights at regular intervals. I’m not big on the underwater pieces, because it does nothing to relieve that dark dank feeling.

This underpass is heavily travailed. In the daytime, the homeless bundle up their belongings, and stack them by the railing, on the road side. This creates a path for the throngs of humanity.

At least we are above water now.

I’m confused about so many homeless in Canada’s richest city.

Who did we paint this for?

I spoke with a couple of the homeless. They seemed happy to have the walls painted. The other side is VERY different from this. That’s another post, later.

Pics taken by Resa – September 29, 2019

Toronto, Canada

The Artists:

Lead artist is Tannis Nielsen.  She mentored a group of young artists as part of the mural making process.

Above: There was a homeless woman living a few doors over from me, in front of an empty store. She’d leave her belongings there in the day and come back at night to sleep. One day, a business moved in. They bundled her belongings and put them at the curb, where the trash gets picked up.

Happy Holidays!

80 thoughts on “Homeless Underpass

  1. Timothy Price

    We have the same issue with homelessness here. Homelessness seems quite universal. The mural is strange but interesting, and very well painted. How was your Christmas?

    1. It’s been hectic and wonderful and very tasty. I’m sure I gained a couple of pounds. There’s a big jam session tonight, and the musicians are all fabulous. That will be a lot of fun, especially as a few extra people are coming to party.
      Yeah, even the homeless have art here. The other side of the underpass could not be more different. I’m trying to find out who all of the faces are, and what they represent.
      How was your Christmas?

  2. So sad in our days that people should be homeless…. with the very few spending in a day what would feed hundreds for a month – I don’t know if I’m getting the analogy right, but I it’s still very much off scale. We have a word in greek which is perfect for this: “hubris” [affront / insult]. J&J and Hera would understand it much better than us humans! 😉 Beautiful shots, my friend. Happy Holidays, my dear Resa …..much much love and xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    1. Yes, hubris!

      I didn’t want to put a sad note on the holidays, so I waited until Christmas was over to post this. Still, I didn’t want the Season to go by without pointing it out.

      I will post something happy for New Years. Hey, Marina, it’s going to be the Chinese Year of the Rat!
      I think a rat would be with J&J &Hera in an innate understanding.
      Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season! {{{{HUGS}}}}

        1. hahaha! lice, love & rats.
          Fab conversation… lol!
          Rats are clever, and reproduce like crazy. It should be a fertile year… and good for men to make money!
          Sending love!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  3. Very sad, but it’s a major issue in the UK now as well. Over the last decade homelessness has skyrocketed. I’m going to start volunteering at shelters, I think, in the new year. Seems there’s a homeless person on every street corner in Manchester these days.

    1. Volunteering is a good heart endeavour!
      This homeless thing gets worse every year, and it’s COLD here in the winter.
      Hope your Holidays are being warm and fun!!!

  4. We have been making strides here in Florida, an all out effort to improve the homeless situation. Our new governor has surprised me by using our tax dollars for good ( our last governor was a disgrace to Florida among other things rejecting millions of federal funds (tax dollars) the state was entitled to, tax dollars to help the needy (under a bill for Medicaid). Since his departure DeSantis accepted the funds and has built new housing for the poor and the homeless. We still have a lot of homeless who do not want to go to a shelter for fear of being harmed in some way. It’s a univresal issue as Tim has stated. It is very frightening and most people are a paycheck away from some disaster, we must stop looking the other way. It was very courageous of you Resa to catch this revealing and heartrending wall art. Sending hugs and much love. Holly xoxox

    1. Ahh, yes!
      I was going to post it on Christmas day, but it is not my intention to bum people out. I just want to draw more awareness to something that is a crime of sorts.
      The women and children shelters sound like they are quite okay…..
      Apparently the men’s shelters can be quite rough due to alcoholism. Lots of fist-a-cuffs when men are all drunk.
      I can also see why people don’t just want to hand themselves over to authority, or religious groups.
      I live close to CAMH _ Canadian Association for Mental Health. There are many mentally ill living in the streets.
      They get treated, get medication, but if they stop taking the medication, it’s back to square one.

      Well, Holly, kind people delivered as many Christmas meals as they could, and there are a lot of soup kitchens that put up a holiday meal.
      AND you are correct! Many are 1 pay check away from a door stoop.

      {{{HUGS}}} Love, holiday cheer AND Big Jam session tonight! I will be downstairs in the fray tonight, although I will miss drawing. Hope I behave myself!

            1. Islamorada.. yeah… it’s there on the blog roll page, but when I try to go to the permalink page to like and comment, I get an OOPS! Page Not Found
              Is it me?
              Your Christmas post works fine.

                1. I rarely use the reader. I prefer to visit blogs.
                  For you, I get the email notification, I click on it and it takes me to the poem/post.
                  Yesterday when I clicked on the email, I got the OOPs page.
                  Later I went to your Home Page, with the entire blog roll. I do that sometimes, and click on the poem I want to read. That takes me out of the general blog roll, to the post’s permalink where I can Like and Comment.
                  I saw Islamorada there on the blog roll, so I clicked on it to go Like and Comment. I got OOPs, that page can’t be found. I tried a few times, and always got the OOPs.
                  Today, after getting out of bed at 12:30 (what a fab night last night! WOOT!) I tried again, and it worked. So…YAY!!!

                  1. I sometimes scroll the reader , by tapping the site name it will take you to the post or you can search for a specific blog. I spk to support and they confirmed my site was up to date on the reader and RSS. Glad you found me!! It sounds like you had a great nite! I’m glad!! xoxoxo

                1. That’s a very valid question.
                  I would have loved you to have been there. You could have picked me up, and helped vindicated me to the young, cool and sexy musicians.
                  Fortunately, next Jam, someone else twirled into the carpet.
                  (I got footage tonight!)

  5. These are beautiful and no… I’ll never understand why there are so many homeless… Here in Montreal as well.
    Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, Resa!

    1. Montreal, too! Homelessness abounds.

      Dale, I am having a wonderful holiday season.
      I hope you are, too! With those boys of yours, I’ll bet you had a very warm, loving time.

    1. Agree, helping out does a soul good.
      There are so many on the street here. I give directly to some. I’ve given food.
      There’s a food bank up the street, and 2 soup kitchens.
      Guess I live in the good part of town!

  6. Nawfal

    Hello Resa,
    Good post.
    It is sick and disgraceful that grubby governments worldwide spend Billions and Billions each year on MACHINES OF WAR AND DEATH, which are dispersed by Departments of Defense (aka Ministries of WAR), yet, governments nowhere on Earth have a Ministry of Humanity?!?! Mind boggling. Most NGOs that may help homeless people spend 70% (a guess) on administrative costs, and other bullshit, and provide only very temporary relief. The world is in freefall….and governments are following the “1984” Playbook, and most people don’t see this happening right in front of their noses.

  7. Pingback: Homeless Underpass — Graffiti Lux Art & More (Resa’s wonderful post on homelessness in Canada) | Rethinking Life

    1. It’s been great!
      Apologies for the short answer, last night! I’d been at a jam session, drank wine, and knowing I am not supposed blog after wine, I did anyway! Lol.
      Carolyn, are you anywhere near the fires?
      All we see about Australia on the telly here is news about fires. It seems like your entire country is aflame. Is all okay where you are?

      1. I bet you had a great time! I would have loved it too!!!
        Poor Oz is experiencing widespread drought; we’ve hardly seen rain in months and weeks.
        The fires have been devastating for many with hundreds of homes lost. We, fortunately, have only had to deal with smoke haze, which some days has kept us indoors with windows closed. You can imagine the amount of wildlife lost and, as usual when catastrophes occur many have volunteered as firemen and many as carers for the sick and injured animals.
        It is expected that fires will continue to burn for the next few months of summer; it is so dry underfoot. We are quite safe, though, where we live. Even though we are surrounded by beautiful Australian bush we are nestled, as it were, in the outskirts of suburbia.
        Lovely to be talking again!!!

        1. Wonderful to be here with you…..again!
          So sad about the fires in Oz. It’s happening everywhere. However, many of the Big $hots deny it.
          FCOL, an entire small city burned down in Canada’s heavily forested north 2 years ago.
          I’m surprised there’s anything left of California.
          Glad to hear you are safe. Fires or none, we’ll have fun!

  8. Tragedy has always existed in society in one form or another. Placing on or near a day where many try to escape the sadness in their life makes it even more pronounced.
    Your great photos and story produce that heart wrenching effect!
    Happy Holidays Resa!

    1. Yes, it is tragic. Travesty of society also comes to mind.
      Thank you, Eddie. I was hesitant to post over the holidays, but that seemed insincere, of & to myself.
      Happy Holidays!
      2020 is upon us, and I am thrilled to have made it here.

  9. Resa, I cannot even imagine anyone living outdoors in the brutal cold we have here. How shocking this is! These paintings, some of them, are beautiful however. Yet that does not negate the fact that their are so many homeless in such a rich city. How very very sad.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more.
      That’s why I ask “Who did we paint this for?” It costs money for the paint and lead artist.
      Did we paint is for the homeless who line this very long underpass, so it’s better for them?
      Did we paint it for the throngs of people who walk through it everyday, so they have something to look at besides the homeless?
      I’m confused. Yes, and I am sad.

  10. It was hard to read about the woman’s belongings being put out as trash… They’re likely precious to her… I wish more people thought about the homeless in this cold season, the freezing nights must be so difficult… Thanks for this caring post, Resa.

    1. Thank you, Christy!
      It was a difficult post to put up in the Holiday Season, but I felt I had to.
      The woman was pleasant. Not all street people are. I truly felt pangs of sadness when I saw her possessions at the curb. I have no better words for that emotion.
      xoxo (We are so lucky)

  11. A profound and insightful post, Resa. It is difficult to understand the complexities of homelessness, because it is interlinked to many other issues. We recognize the problem and yet there is a realization that the solutions are not as easily pursued. Defined as a “wicked problem” homelessness is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. There is no single solution. “Wicked” in this context signifies resistance to resolution – not our usual terminology. When we solve one problem, another one reveals itself. Homelessness, poverty, mental health issues, addiction – these issues require all of our participation. Every act of kindness creates amazing possibilities. Our blogging community, with its commitment to art, poetry, beauty, builds resilience and strengthens our resolve to give our best to a world that is perilously divided. My word for this year is “reconciliation.” Happy New Year, my dear friend.

    1. Happy New year dear Rebecca!
      “Reconciliation” is a fab word for 2020. It’s also a fab deed.
      You are right, there is no one answer for homelessness, and there are many causes.
      Surely, in a city as rich as Toronto, the “poverty” issue can be solved, at least.
      …. and then there’s the animals……
      Thank you for this insightful and caring comment!

      1. And thank you for featuring this post and allowing for a marvelous conversation that looks for ways in which to alleviate the burden. Every act of kindness makes a difference. There are many who work with diligent compassion in this good work.

    1. It’s because: the rich only give some money as they don’t want to run out of money, the middle class is so stretched it doesn’t have much to give, the earth is overpopulated, not many younger people are having careers in social work (it’s not exciting, sexy and you can’t do it on line)

  12. The art is fantastic. The numbers are daunting. I think you and I already talked about the issue. 9,000! With the winter you guys have… I insist something could be done. don’t know what.

    1. It’s crazy!
      The neighbours(it’s a business) entrance is a cement slab about 6 inches off the sidewalk, 9 feet long, and has a roof overhang thing.
      This is a coveted spot for homeless to sleep.
      A new shi-shi business moved in. They would get rid of the homeless person, and an hour later a new one would move in.
      Their answer was to put attractive planters with small evergreen trees on the slab.
      Now, no homeless can sleep there. That was how those people did something about it.

  13. The same problem exist in here. I wish there was a permanent solution to the problem. There are so many different issues causing a person to end up homeless that each situation must be dealt with on whatever the grounds maybe creating it. But the problems is in most cases no one knows about the problems resulting into homelessness until things are out of control.
    The art work is beautiful.

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