Homelessness in Northumberland County continues to rise, county councillors were told Wednesday.

It’s no surprise to people in the county social services and housing departments, or to those in outside agency like Green Wood Coalition in Port Hope that provides programming for the homeless and working to help put a roof over their heads.

Or for police officers in the area who are looking to address the issues of people seeking shelter during the winter. The Cobourg Police Services has such a facility within its King Street West headquarters that is already used by homeless people overnight, and Port Hope Police Services is looking at augmenting its services to those facing a housing crisis.

Everyone agrees we need to do something about homelessness – as long as we’re not impacted or inconvenienced in the process.

The fact is, many of us are hypocrites when it comes to this problem. We earnestly shake our heads in anger and despair when we read about the growing number of people sleeping in alleyways and under bridges, of a mother living in a tent in the woods. But how many of us are prepared to do something to help make a difference?

Solve homelessness? Sure. Just somewhere where I don’t have to see it.

That, to a large measure, is the essence of a debate raging in Vancouver. And believe me, it’s just getting started.

Two thirds of Scots never stop to speak to homeless people, according to a new study.

Charity Street Soccer Scotland, which commissioned the research, also said that 41% of those questioned were “fearful” of approaching the homeless.

The research shows younger people aged 16 to 24 were least likely to stop and talk.

It is estimated that each year about 5,000 people are forced to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets.

Street Soccer Scotland said older age groups were less likely to be anxious about speaking to rough sleepers.

Toronto remains the child poverty capital of Canada with more than one in four kids living in low-income families, says a new report based on the 2016 census.

But even more troubling is the racial divide among the region’s poor children, according to the report being released Wednesday by a coalition of social agencies serving vulnerable families.

Children from racialized families — or families of people of colour — are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty as those from non-racialized families, or 23.3 per cent compared to 11.4 per cent, says the report. And about 84 per cent of Toronto’s Indigenous families with children are living in poverty.

UFCW Canada has launched a new campaign demanding equity for First Nations children in Canada. As part of the campaign, Canada’s leading union is calling on Jane Philpott, the federal Minister of Indigenous Services, to address the flawed delivery and inadequate funding of health care, education, and other social services for First Nations children.

It has been 10 years since Cindy Blackstock and the Assembly of First Nations took the federal government to court, citing discrimination against Indigenous children in the delivery of social services and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. Since then, the government has failed to comply with three non-compliance orders issued by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, while refusing to take effective remedial actions at the policy and program levels.

As a result, the situation for First Nations children remains grave in many parts of the country.

Nearly 1 million Ontarians are on social assistance, but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of attention they get.

Yes, that’s an enormous number of people. No, it doesn’t translate into 1 million votes.

Low-income people tend toward lower election turnouts, poor children aren’t voters, and welfare families can’t afford campaign donations. But the bigger reason why poverty remains a low priority for politicians is the cost — political and fiscal.

Allocating too much money for welfare risks antagonizing other voters who fret about waste or dependency. And who want their own needs and entitlements taken care of first — like hydro rate reductions, child-care subsidies, or middle class tax cuts.

If we are willing to stand by and watch while the government gives another human being $710 per month to live on, (or more accurately, to die on), then I have to conclude that there is something more important to us as a society than respecting another person’s dignity and right to life.

Maybe it’s money that’s more important to us. Often we hear that we cannot afford to increase welfare rates. But (even if you don’t know that it actually costs more to deal with the consequences of poverty than it does to prevent poverty), ask yourself, is that an adequate reason to leave people sleeping on the street? Do you choose money over the dignity of your fellow human being? What so-called “economic factors” take precedence over life?