Two advocates for the poor are questioning the Food Banks B.C. policy of denying hampers to those who have no fixed address, arguing it lacks compassion.

The Friends in Need Food Bank in Maple Ridge follows that policy, requiring some form of government photo identification for any adult member of a family, as well as secondary identification, proof of address in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, in addition to proof of income.

Service may be denied without proof of identity, according to the food bank’s website.

What does it say about our city? While some Torontonians make millions off a skyrocketing housing market, homeless deaths have nearly doubled.

On the second Tuesday of every month, friends and family of those who have died on our city’s streets join together on the steps of the Church of the Holy Trinity to acknowledge and mourn their passing. On June 13, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and I were there to witness the addition of three new names being added to the list of the dead. The names read out were, as is too often the case, John and Jane Does.

The attendees are a colourful group of people with lived street experience, family and friends of the deceased, homeless advocates and allies, and church volunteers. Through poetry and song, rants and statements, they demonstrate their grief and their rage in ways that were both respectful and disruptive. Anger is an appropriate emotion here.

Almost 300 Thunder Bay residents are homeless. Supporters of Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Project hope the program will help those people.

Thunder Bay residents are eagerly awaiting this week’s announcement of how the provincial government will roll out the Basic Income Pilot Project in their community.

On April 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that 4,000 people — in the Hamilton area (which includes Brantford and Brant County), Lindsay, and Thunder Bay — will participate in the first basic income study undertaken by a Canadian government since the Dauphin, Manitoba, experiment finished in 1979.

On April 13, 2017, about 300 people, all of them united in their desire to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable among us, took their seats in the OISE auditorium to listen to a discussion about Basic Income (BI) and its implications for addressing poverty. What we need to keep in mind is that, regardless of a person’s views on BI, this particular event was a meeting of allies. It is unproductive to characterize any of the debaters or audience members as supporting poverty, the poverty police, or even the current inhumane system that delivers untold misery to so many.

Moderating the debate was Avi Lewis from the Leap Manifesto, a veteran journalist, moderator, film-maker, and activist. Proponents of BI were Josephine Grey, with Low Income Families Together (LIFT) and Guy Caron, NDP MP and federal leadership candidate. Critiquing BI proposals were John Clarke, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), and Jessica Sikora, president of OPSEU Local 586. The Leap Manifesto should be commended for organizing a much-needed debate on the issue of BI and providing a space for progressive forces to come together to grapple with strategies and tactics

As many as a dozen cases of necrotizing fasciitis — or “flesh-eating disease” — have been reported among older homeless men in Montreal.

According to Public Health, the cases have been caused by streptococcus A, a bacterial infection.

“People whose health is compromised, in this case older men, not women, would be susceptible for it to become flesh-eating disease,” explained Matthew Pearce, president and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission.

The Saskatchewan government has relented on a plan that would have seen people on social assistance lose nearly half of the benefits provided to cover funeral costs at a savings to the province of about $1 million per year.

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party government said in its March budget that it would cut funeral benefits for the poor from up to $3,850 to $2,100. The province would continue to cover basic preparation of the body, transfers, a standard casket or urn and regulatory fees, but would no longer cover the cost of things like viewings and funeral services, as of July 1.

Penticton’s city manager is speaking out on the community’s mental health, addiction, and homelessness problems, or as he calls it, “a crisis.”

Peter Weeber says the city has been getting buried by complaints, emails and phones calls about vagrancy in the city, but is at a loss about how a small community can tackle such monolithic issues on its own.

“We are receiving a lot of feedback from the community that they don’t think it’s acceptable, and I agree. A lot of people are calling it a problem… I’m saying it’s a crisis, that needs to be managed accordingly,” Weeber said.