Is Reducing homelessness by creating housing worth it? : The Saturday Weekend Review #121

The Saturday Weekend Review logo- homelessnessSoldier Of Your Own Dream


I have always been intrigued about homelessness because I often wonder why it even exists in a country that has so many resources.

There is no reason so many people are homeless for so long.

It makes no sense to me unless they don’t want to be helped which is certainly a possibility if you’ve become so accustomed to a way of life.

At the end of the day I’m sure it’s safe to say that we all want a place to lay our head that is safe and food that will fill our tummy and clothes to keep us warm.

Did you know that homelessness costs the Canadian economy a whopping 7 Billion dollars annually and if that number doesn’t blow you away or push you towards tightening the budget, nothing will.

In Canada, though the median length of stay in emergency shelter is approximately 50 days, most people are homeless for less than a month (29% stay only one night), and manage to leave homelessness on their own, usually with little support.- Homeless Hub Canada

I often wonder what we are doing to try and combat the situation so we can get people off the streets and into a place they can call their own along with a job where they can earn an income even if it is minimum wage.

According to Homeless Hub Canada on any given night in Canada there are 30,000 homeless people living in the streets, shelters or other accommodations. The numbers from the 2013 Ipsos Reid Survey are staggering especially when we don’t always see these homeless people among us.

We estimate at least 200,000 Canadians access homeless emergency services or sleep outside in a given year.

Living in the Greater Toronto Area there isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t see a homeless person or someone who is asking for food or money. It happens every minute of every day and unless you are heartless it certainly strikes a chord.

Blogging about finance over the years we take what we earn and we put it to work for us so we can live a debt free life which frees us from worry and gives us the ability to make choices in our lives.

Although I don’t get out to the local soup kitchen or Food Bank to help out we do donate but I blog to help anyone who cares to read about why it’s so important to budget their money and steer clear from debt.

Back in the UK while I was in University I met a kid every day down in an area where I would go for a smoke. He never smoked so I thought he was coming out for fresh air.

I used to chat with him about school and what I was studying but he never really talked about himself. It wasn’t until I asked him what he was studying that he told me, nothing. He said he didn’t even go to the University and that he only came by to watch the other students go to class because it was something he could only dream of.

He had been homeless for a few years and got by living at shelters and food offerings from local kitchens. You could see the dreams of his life play out in his eyes as he talked about wanting to be an engineer.

He’s not alone and for whatever reason(s) no homeless person asked for that way of life because at one point they had a dream. It may have been when they were a child and they told their parents they would grow up to be a policeman or singer but they are no longer walking that path.

I’m sure they think about their past and rewind the good memories because those are the times that make them smile the most.

I don’t know what became of that young man I would chat to everyday but for some reason I think he came back just to chat to me because I would talk to him.

It’s no wonder I talk about finance now because I’ve seen so much poverty in my life that I never wanted to be that person.

I would eat the same foods over an over each week if that meant I saved an extra $20 a week on groceries or it helped me pay the bills. Over time frugal living has paid off for me and for us but it did not come without sacrifices and that is what we all need to remember when it comes to fulfilling dreams.

Nothing is for certain and it takes hard work or doing things differently than the norm.

Understanding homelessness


What is homelessness anyways?

Most people assume you don’t have a home and that’s partly correct but it goes deeper than that for many people who suffer alone on the streets. In 2012 York University came up with the first Canadian definition of homelessness.

I would say that the definition pretty much covers everything it needs to and it sends a clear message to everyone, it’s not a life you want to live.

“Homelessness describes the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination. Most people do not choose to be homeless and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, stressful and distressing.”

—CHRN, 2012 –Wikipedia

A couple of weeks back I remember reading an article where a gentleman in the USA was building tiny homes for the homeless. I immediately wanted to read more because it was such a touching story with a profound message.

We want to help the homeless people in hopes of getting rid of or lessening this real-life situation that most people tend to put out of their minds or just forget about.

There’s more to living than food….there’s the necessities of life and no one should be without them, especially in Canada.

Stats Canada doesn’t track the amount of homelessness in Canada rather they track the numbers when the census is sent out every 5 years of people living in shelters. So if you want to know how bad it is where you live your best bet is to talk to someone who runs the shelters in your local community.

Most recognized homelessness happens in the bigger cities in Canada although it occurs everywhere even though we might not see it in front of our faces.

Statistics Canada does not collect monthly or annual data on the number of homeless persons in Canada.

Residents of shelters are enumerated during the census, which occurs every 5 years. (Shelters include shelters for abused women and children, shelters for persons lacking a fixed address, and other shelters and lodging and rooming with assistance services).

Statistics Canada has information on the following:

  • number of people living in shelters during the census
  • residential facilities (shelters) for female victims of domestic violence

Youth, Aboriginal, Women and Families face homelessness and it is a big problem and sometimes the only place to turn is the streets.

I’m unsure about getting welfare without an address but I’m sure it’s an ongoing struggle to get help unless someone gives you that help. I do know that most rental places ask for a credit check and if you don’t have one you won’t have much luck finding a place.

You can hand out as much money as you want to the homeless in the park or living on the streets but that won’t stop the problem of homelessness in Canada. It’s hard to say goodbye to a life you are living when you have nowhere to go. It’s hard to get off the drugs unless you want to or have the help.

I’m guessing that life on the streets is so awful that breaking the silence is one of the hardest things for a homeless person to do.

No one wants to live on the streets but until we crush the trend with something concrete homelessness is always going to be a problem.

How do people become homeless?

Homelessness can happen for many reasons including drug or alcohol addiction, abuse, no money, loss of job, limited to no education, mental health issues and the list goes on and on.

I’ve heard of many people complain about how little money they get from Welfare yet there are homeless people living in a dark alley hoping that someone will rescue them or that they will find an opportunity to break-free from the cold life they are living.


Homes for the homeless


I read about Medicine Hat a city in southern Alberta today becoming the first place in Canada to eliminate homelessness as promised back in 2009 by housing the homeless people. Instantly I thought we were getting somewhere and it was nice to finally read some good news for once.

It costs the city about $20,000 per person to help them get into a house but having homeless people on the streets can cost over $100,000 per year. A pretty good trade if you ask me and they get a roof over their heads and a warm bed.

If only someone could give homeless people a job so they can go about earning money and moving into a place they can call their own. “If only” shouldn’t sound like words you’d dream of, it should be a reality.

That would be the ideal situation.

Some people may feel no empathy towards homelessness around them but we don’t know how everyone’s story begins nor do we know how it will end, so we can’t judge.

We shouldn’t judge anyways.

Do you think more cities in Canada should work harder to cut the homelessness numbers and get people off the streets?


CBB Week At A Glance


deckWhat can I say about this week? This week was filled with job after job and appointments and I don’t think I had much time to sleep or eat but I’m hoping to put this week behind me.

My laptop is at the Vet’s only a year and a bit after spending almost $2000 on it. It doesn’t matter how much you spend there will always be a problem.

I didn’t get the extended warranty so hopefully it won’t cost me too much to fix it. I’m not big on extended warranties for technology but that’s personal for me. Maybe after this I may change my views, I’ll let you know, haha!

I brought the vehicle in to get cleaned which included the carpets and seats washed and vacuumed which I do after every winter because it looks like crap. One year I did it myself and it took me a few hours to do but I had the time to do it.

These days time is at a premium for me so paying the $100 was no big deal and it’s done right. Not that I wouldn’t have but I don’t have a wet vacuum cleaner, I washed it all by hand.

The deck is sanded and coated and ready for a couple more years of Canadian winter and summer use. Next I have to get all the summer furniture out then finish the gardening and hanging baskets.

My parents will be here very soon too so add that to the mix and you have one heck of a busy Mr.CBB. Thankfully I’m not at my second job right now. I don’t know how I would do it all.

Thanks for sticking around and supporting me through my busiest times. I have the best fans!

Have a Happy Victoria Day Weekend everyone~



Published This Week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions.

If you want to share a story please ensure that there is minimum 500-1000 words and details… we love details!


Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

This week CBB fan Christine Weadick shares her grocery store find that will save her lots of $$.

meat deals christine

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans…

Here’s that lean ground beef I got at No Frills on sale for an excellent price. I grabbed what I could. The packs had 2 price labels on them as you can see plus the stickers.

$9.95, marked down to $4.92, 30% off so minus $1.48

$10.26, marked down to $5.07, 30% off minus $1.52

10.32, marked down to  $5.10, 30% off minus $1.53

$30.53 worth of lean ground beef cost me a whole $12.09!!!

I have enough ground beef to keep us going for a few weeks while I keep looking for more deals!

Thanks Christine for sending in your deals this week.

Don’t forget if you have a brag, I want to hear about it! Email me today.


Making A Difference (MAD)


Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans.

Today I’d like to welcome Anum!

Current on Currency


Hello Mr. CBB and readers!

My name is Anum, and I’m excited to introduce you to my blog, Current on Currency.

To give you a better understanding of how and why I started the blog, I’d like to share some background information about me.

I was born in Korea, but was raised in Hong Kong. I attended boarding school in the Himalayas and then went to college in the US.

I made countless cringe-worthy financial mistakes throughout the majority of my college years, and in turn, I wanted to share my hard-earned wisdom to anyone who wanted listen – no matter what currency they were accustomed to dealing with.

Learning to convert currency using exchange rates was the first valuable money lesson I learned. When I first moved to India I had to be aware of how many Indian Rupees my Hong Kong dollar was worth.

I was used to thinking in terms of Hong Kong dollars, so when I purchased something in rupees, the amount was essentially meaningless to me unless I converted the sum into HKD. I had a similar problem when I moved to the US, only with USD and Korean Won.

So Current on Currency is my effort to carve out a small space on the internet where I can write about personal finance in a way that is more approachable and inclusive to my fellow members of the millennial generation.

I want to share my pursuit of financial progression and personal freedom – drawn from both past experiences and current challenges. I’m documenting my journey of becoming a responsible consumer with an excellent credit score to show for it


Top Recipe


pecan pie cheesecake fudge


Food  and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I created this second Facebook page because I love food so much and I wanted to showcase only food 24/7 and this is where I do it.

I also share recipes on CBB once a week on Sundays either made by me or my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don!

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Sheryl at Lady Behind The Curtain for this Pecan Pie Cheesecake Fudge which I can’t wait to make for the next gathering we go to.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick this week goes to David at Money Under 30 for the post “Why you need a bank account buffer“.

I liked this post because of the explanation between the emergency savings and the projected expenses (they call it buffer). I have had people ask why we have so many savings accounts and this is why. We have them so we know what money we can use and what money is for emergencies. A great read.


Google Search Terms


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Is marrying for financial security wrong?- Do you really need to ask?
  • Budget Scratch Tickets- Is there such a thing?
  • Why is it important to know the price of groceries?– So you can find the best deals
  • Can I use French Dressing the expired 2 years ago?- I wouldn’t
  • Raising money to pay off OSAP from strangers– Whatever works….

Thanks for reading The Saturday Weekend Review and Welcome to 2015 on Canadian Budget Binder!!


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  1. Great price on hamburg…waiting to come across a great sale so we can buy some 🙂 At the moment, we have been eating turkey, fish fillets, and pork.

    I believe mental illness, drug / alcohol addiction, childhood abuse are the main causes.
    Some children are being permitted to stay with abusive, neglectful parents, who have no right raising children.
    As I have always said, when you get rid of the incentive the major part of the problem will evaporate.
    By this I mean, get rid of welfare for single mothers.
    All this does is create generational poverty.

    1. Kathryn,

      I think you are making too much of a general statement about “getting rid of the incentive”. Have you ever been on welfare or of any kind of government assistance and I’m not talking about unemployment insurance or OSAP? I have, in fact, I was on “Mother’s Allowance due to being a single mother. I lived like that until my child was around 11. Now mind you I worked but welfare still subsidized my income because I didn’t make enough money without it. In the past 15 or more years, the social assistance program has tightened their belts so now you have to prove you are working in order to keep getting that check and little bit of benefits, such as prescription drugs or emergency dental. Believe me, it’s not fun asking the government a hand out but if that’s what it takes to put a roof over yours and your child’s head then you do what you need to. Am I proud of that time of my life, no but I also wouldn’t change it for anything. If there wasn’t welfare for me, I would have ended on the streets and what good does that do for the community or society at large.

      You don’t need homelessness to have mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction or even child abuse. You don’t need homelessness to have abusive or neglecting parents. These scenarios can be caused by the most wealthy of families and the most loving families have virtually nothing.

      1. Dee,
        I stand by my statements. You are welcome to your own opinion. I’m happy to have a discussion/debate, but I don’t believe Mr CBB’s blog is the appropriate forum.

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