If a homeless shelter opened up in your neighbourhood tomorrow, how do you think you would respond?
Well, judging from the folks in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood, you might actually cry–literally. A notice recently went up in the wealthy community, letting residents know that it was going to be the future site of a homeless shelter set to open in November.
While we’d like to believe we live in a world where people would be happy to see the construction of a building that would give back to the less fortunate, that’s sadly not the case.
“Yes hello I just got a notice about the new shelter going up in my neighbourhood and I think it’s an awful idea,” one resident who saw the notice said after calling in.
“How did you possibly get permission to ruin a neighbourhood by putting a homeless shelter here?” said another.
“You know that these are all drug addicts and drunks. You ruining a perfectly good neighbourhood is absolutely absurd.”
In all of the calls featured in the video below, there are no offers to volunteer or provide donations, or even get involved in any way. The reaction was unanimous: not in my backyard.
That video, by the way, was actually put together by Raising the Roof, a charity organization that puts together “long-term solutions” for Canada’s homeless. So here’s the big spoiler: There was never actually going to be a homeless shelter in Leaside. The organization put up that notice and installed a hidden camera just to see how people would react to the prospect of one.
Needless to say, it wasn’t good.
Just one day after putting up the notice, Raising the Roof staff came and swapped the sign for another one that read: “You told us you don’t want a shelter here. Neither do we. Support us in creating long-term solutions. Let’s end homelessness.”
Ouch. Sorry, Leaside, but you just got burned.
The video ends by suggesting that if we were as passionate about ending homelessness as we were about opposing the construction of shelters, we might’ve actually solved the problem by now.
Sure makes you think, doesn’t it? You can check out the full video below.