This post is the second in a series of articles from guest bloggers. Each week experts and activists in fields of homelessness and mental health explore some of the issues raised by a Here At Home film.

For today’s post we matched the Winnipeg film, “3 Hots and a Cot” with Tim Richter, President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH). Richter led the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness – the first plan of its kind in Canada. With the CAEH, he is now working to create a movement to prevent and end homelessness nation-wide.

The traditional approach to homelessness is grounded in an ideology that people should be self-sufficient and ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps,’ earning housing through good behaviour, compliance and sobriety. It’s no small irony that this approach has had precisely the opposite effect to the one desired.

The entrenched worldview in so many of our social services today (aptly named the ‘Sorrow Systems’ by an Aboriginal speaker I once heard) presumes disability, dysfunction and worthlessness in those it is supposed to care for.