Beating for sport?????
There have been many studies showing the homeless are are the unseen in our society; the target of abuse where they are beaten up, sometimes for sport. In 2013 an Ipsos Reid survey about 1.3 million Canadians identified that they had experienced homelessness or extremely insecure housing at some point during the past five years. Between 2012 and 2013 there was a 24% increase in the number of attacks on homeless people. Recently in Winnipeg, a man was sentenced for the murder of three homeless people.

A regular guest ended up on the wrong side of an altercation several weeks ago. He is homeless and vulnerable, and several times a year finds himself the target of a significant beating. These beatings typically go unreported and get no attention in the media. They are simply part of the daily risk of living on the street. The road to recovery after a beating can be hard. This particular guest went to the hospital and was given 5 days of antibiotics and a cream, which didn't seem to help the wound on his leg. Each day he seemed to be in more pain, and he was encouraged to go back for more medical care. He did, and was told he would be fine if he finished his course of antibiotics. Yesterday his leg was hot to the touch, and obviously infected. He was lightheaded and weak. Even with a cane, he was too sore to walk. A friend offered to go to the hospital with him, and agreed to wait as long as it took to get care. A cab to Emergency and a 6 1/2 hour wait brought some relief. He received antibiotics through an IV, and his wound was lanced. It was full of infection. Without this aggressive medical care, he was at risk of losing his leg. His followup treatment is to go and receive IV antibiotics daily at the Regent Access Centre. Because he is homeless, and he couldn't be reached his Manitoba Health Card was cancelled. Today when he came to Oak Table he needed to be reconnected with Manitoba Health; otherwise he would be charged for his care; a charge he would have no hope of paying. We gave him bus tickets to get to and from the Access Centre, and reassurance we would continue to help him access the care he needs.

The circumstances that make someone homeless are diverse, but whatever those circumstances are, being homeless does not make them any less human, any less in need of our respect and love. How we treat the most vulnerable in our society is a reflection of who we are both as individuals and as a society.

Help us extend a helping hand to the homeless in our society. Help us provide them with a safe place to come and be seen for the people they are. Please donate to Oak Table so we can continue to offer compassion as well as practical help to the vulnerable men, women and children in our community.