Eight years hasn't been long enough for just a single week to solve the problem, but it is creating awareness, and making a difference.
This week is Metro Vancouver's eighth annual Homelessness Action Week, an idea picked up and carried throughout the province by the government of B.C. for the past five years, as well.
It follows on the heels of last week's Homelessness Action Day, marked by more than 50 countries around the world on Oct. 10.
The emphasis of Homelessness Action Week this year is so-called "invisible homelessness," in reference to those who are not obviously on the streets... yet.
Invisible homelessness includes those who "couch surf," moving from temporary shelter to temporary shelter in the homes of friends or family.
That may not seem like a huge problem... until the reality of their situation is considered more closely. In fact, these are people who live on the edge of an existence on the streets that may claim them at any time.
They may not appear as bright spots on society's radar at any given moment, but they nonetheless require support services and a better opportunity to achieve permanent housing.
The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness points out that "invisible" homelessness and the more visible variety are closely connected, and efforts to deal with the former will go a long way to helping solve the problems of the latter.
The first step to dealing with any problem is to identify it - and to make society as a whole aware of the magnitude of the problem that exists.
Indeed, in a caring community such as ours, that awareness seems always to take us to the next step: active efforts to find a solution.
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