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Not just Oshawa’s problem

Even the proudest citizens of this city will acknowledge that Oshawa doesn’t always have the greatest reputation.

The mere mention of the name in other communities can result in mockery, laughter or the turning up of noses.

In Durham Region alone, it’s not arguable that Oshawa is seen as the black sheep, the ‘Dirty Shwa as some call it.

And while things in the region’s largest municipality are far from perfect, there are great things happening in our city.

During recent regional chair debates, the topic of homelessness has been a hot-button issue.

At a debate in Ajax, it was noted that 75 per cent of Durham’s documented homeless population is in Oshawa.

And while that may not be welcome news to some residents here, it’s easy to see why this is the case.

As pointed out by Mayor John Henry on numerous occasions, the majority of services available to homeless people are in Oshawa.

Organizations such as St. Vincent’s Kitchen, Cornerstone, John Howard Society and Catholic Family Services of Durham call this city home.

So when those who are seeking help leave other large cities such as Toronto, London or Windsor and arrive in Durham Region, Oshawa more than likely will be their destination.

And perhaps that is how residents and politicians in Durham’s other municipalities want it, or it appears that way sometimes.

When the word “homelessness” is brought up here, the words “Oshawa” and “downtown” are soon to follow.

Regardless of how you believe Henry and the outgoing city council has handled homelessness, the mayor made the valid point that postal codes shouldn’t be taken into account when people arrive here looking for help.

Whether or not residents of other towns and cities in Durham want to admit it, there are homeless people on their streets and in their parks as well.

Perhaps it is time for all of us in Durham to address this issue on a united front, as it appears regional staff is attempting to.

Homelessness should not be the problem of Oshawa alone, and our city should not be judged for having organizations that provide services to those in need.