Homeless Men during the Great Depression

The impacts of the Great Depression were heavily felt throughout Canada when millions of Canadians became unemployed, financially unstable and even homeless. The Great Depression was the longest and worst global economic in modern history that impacts millions of people around the world from about the laste 1920s to early 1940s. By 1933, Gross National Expenditure had fallen by 42 per cent and 30 per cent of the workforce was unemployed. (1)

When the depression hit, Canada did not have an strong welfare system which deeply affected those hit by the economic crisis. The federal government insisted that providing assistance  was responisbility of municipal and provincial governments while the municipal and provincial governments wanted the federal government to address the issue. As a result, there was little intervention from any level of government. (2)

Unfortunately, local governments often ignored and refused to provide assistance single, homeless men. To try and alleviate some of the stress of the men, the federal government esthablished relief camps but these camps paid the men $0.20 CAD a day for construction work in the bushes. (3) There were also a few homeless shelters that some of these men could resort to but these shelters were always problematic. The shelters were often overcrowded, unsanitary and even fire traps. (4) The ill treatment of men within this camps led to the Regina Riot which was one of the most violent periods in of the Canadian Great Depression. (5)

Robinsons interest and enagagement with the John Franks House highlights her deep desire to work with and help the homeless men within Canada. She was one of the few journalists who made very active efforts for the plight of single transcient men to be made more public. The situation of homeless men was made even worse during the Great Depression, but there were certain institutions such as the John Frank House which were commiteed to helping these men the best that they could.  

support letter

Correspondence #1

This letter rejects Canada's stance of not being able to help the single homeless men who are desparetly in need of aid. The letter boasts about using the Globe and Mail and about 100 young men from the Trinity Parish Hall to raise the money which would be needed to help some the single, homeless men. Years prior, the Globe and Mail was able to raise about double the amount  needed to help these men for Welshe miners. The author of this letter is emphasizing the character of Globe and Mail readers and Trinity Parish Hall men in helping the transcient men who need the assistance.

support letter 2

Correspondence #2

A proposal is made for a camp to be esthablished where homeless men be sheltered, fed and will work for about eight months.  This approach is encourgaed greatly by the individuals proposing it because it will provide these men with a sense of responsibility and a sense of purpose again.

Welfare depart

Letter from Department of Welfare

A letter from the provincial Department of Public Welfare in Ontario responded to a letter from the John Frank House minimizing the number of homeless men within the province highlights the provincial governments inaction and indifference towards the disasterous state of affairs for unemployed men. The letter also briefly explains that due to budget constraints, there is not a lot enough money within the provincial budget so not a lot of help could be provided.  No alternatives or suggestions are provided within the letter further highlighting the pronvince turning a blind eye to the situation.

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