Save the Red Door

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Originally posted at Parkbench.com 

Condo developers have their eyes on 875 Queen St. E, home of Red Door Family Shelter.

The Red Door website reads: “The building that houses our long-term home has been put into receivership and is now being bid on by condo developers, leaving the Red Door Family Shelter without a concrete future.” According to the Toronto website the city’s homeless population living outdoors has risen 24% since 2009. Food bank usage is at a record high.

“The vast majority of those experiencing homelessness want permanent housing, but continue to face barriers accessing it,” reads the city’s site. An answer for some is the Red Door Family Shelter, which supports over 500 families a year. Though some condo developers would rather take this refuge away and replace it with yet another Toronto condo option, to add to an already rising number.

The 106-bed shelter has been at the Leslieville address for over 30 years. “Many people can find themselves in desperate need,” reads their site. “These include women who are fleeing violence at home, families who are evicted, refugees, or young mothers who may have nowhere to go.” Families find their way to the shelter by word of mouth or organizations like the Children’s Aid Society or Police Services. Basic funding to meet emergency shelter and medical needs is provided by the city and Ontario. Donations help fund additional programs like youth educational programming and immigration assistance. Families may stay at the Red Door for one night or six months. Usually they are able to live independently after three months, and the shelter helps with the transition by providing moving assistance, furniture, a food bank, help finding housing and ongoing caseworker support.

The shelter has a petition at Change.org for supporters to sign and accept donations here.

Get in the Twitter conversation with #savethereddoor

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com 

The NIMBY folk in Etobicoke

EVERYBODY COUNTS
EVERYBODY COUNTS

Here in Toronto we have the Ford brothers, two vile, privileged, entitled, and horrible, disgusting people. They are just awful, rotten to the core. Lately, Doug Ford has faced much-deserved backlash for his comments attacking a residential home for developmentally disabled youth.

Other offenders hid behind anonymity when telling writer Tamara Shephard and the Etobicoke Guardian how they felt about the Griffin Centre: some said the home is a good idea, as long as it isn’t in their neighbourhood, another suggested the kids go live on a farm.

“What do I say to my three kids under the age of seven when one of these kids freaks out?” asked one woman, who declined to give her name. “When my child says, ‘Mommy, why are there police here again?’ What do I say?”

You privileged, stuck up, sickening person. It is not the fault of autistic children that you cannot act like a decent human being when parenting. Did you know there is a land of less affluent neighbourhoods? A world outside your sheltered bubble? In the neighbourhoods my daughter has lived in, she has seen cop cars. She has encountered people who are visibly mentally ill. They have -gasp- interacted with her. I’ve explained that some people’s minds become ill, like other parts of the body can.

She already seems to have a better understanding of humanity than these adults. When she grows up, she certainly won’t be attacking a home helping disable youth.

You can support Griffin Centre here.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

What’s in a name?

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 4.32.30 PMWhen my older sister didn’t want people to know her baby names right away, some people laughed: “That’s so silly, they’re just names.” Except they’re not.

For some reason people are absolute jerks about what other people name their kids. When I was pregnant a lot of people let me know they hate the name Patience- though at no time did I ever ask them what their thoughts were. “What will the kids say?”

“They will tease her!”

“They will make fun of her because it is already a word!”

Now Patience is in school, no one has teased her. And moving to a bigger city in a neighbourhood where it is common to have an uncommon name (ya) hasn’t made a difference in this, as some try to justify their former protests. Even in the snobby suburb we lived in for a bit, no one made fun of her. Yet, I’m still asked if other kids make fun of her.

I don’t get what the big deal is. In my case, Patience isn’t a new name at all. In the cases of others, who cares? So the kid won’t have someone in their class with the same name. OH NO they won’t be referred to by their first name and last initial. How dreadful!

It should be said that now, all the Patience haters can’t see her being named anything else. It’s as if I’m the smartest woman in the world or something.

What do doctors have? Patients! Ugh, It makes me SO sad that people are giving these type of names to their children! Think about it a name is a serious thing! I don’t even wanna imagine what the kids at my school would do to someone named Patience! – A Behind the Name commenter

Then there is the last name fun. My daughter has a hyphenated last name. We were in a news story last year and the photographer who came over got huffy when I spelled her last name out, “Oh, you’re one of those. You couldn’t just lose your name.” No, I couldn’t. I had my name changed from my biological father’s to my mother’s. This name is very important to me, it is a part of my family history, and my daughter is a part of that history. Also, it is a very pretty last name. As for her last name being longer, again, so what? We live in a country that is supposed to be open to different cultures. We aren’t all going to be Jones, Smith and Harris (Fun fact: The latter was my former last name.)

I am particularly sensitive to words and names. So I’m not one to simply ditch a name so important to me.

But what if she gets married to someone with a hyphenated name and they will have children? WHAT WILL BE DONE?! I don’t fucking know. I don’t. But for some reason, I also don’t fucking care.

It seems super fun for people to become self-righteous about other people’s kids names. But there are so many other hobbies out there – give them a whirl!

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com