Homelessness isn't something that can be easily understood. People are aware it exists, but it's easy to turn a blind eye to the problem.
As with most causes, there are advocacy groups that are trying to make a difference.
Last week there was a provincial conference on homelessness. Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network came from all over the province (and even from other provinces) to share ideas on ending homelessness.
It was three days of talking.
Three days of good intentions.
Three days of networking.
But, what was really accomplished?
One major theme of the conference was about empowering community groups spreading awareness.
It's almost funny that a conference, with the awareness spreaders, didn't have any representation from the movers and shakers from the provincial and municipal governments.
Why was this information only shared with the people who know it best?
In fairness to the network, they did send invitations to ministers Dave Denine, Shawn Skinner, Susan Sullivan and Tom Hedderson. (Denine showed up the first morning to bring greetings from the province.)
But, where were the mayors and town councillors?
Other than the "sharing," the only thing that came from the conference was the idea to create another bureaucratic position within government to create another bureaucrat within government to develop a policy to help the homeless.
So, the solution is to add another level of bureaucracy?
Surely there are enough government departments and experts already in place to deal with this issue. We don't need to waste government money on uppercrust middlemen.
The proposed new "suit" would cost taxpayers at least $50,000, not to mention travel and other associated costs.
It's money that could be funneled to charity and church groups, people on the ground who can help with the issue.
If all they're going to do is blow hot air by "spreading awareness" for the duration of their contract, why not put the money to better use by giving it to organizations to open shelters or organize food and clothing drives for the less fortunate.
The motto of one social change group - the Freechild Project - says it best: "Only through actions do words take power."
These groups should put their money where their mouths are. Instead of talking about the good deeds they do, they should prove it by doing.