The eyes that met mine were different.
They reflected both the lived experience of immense hardship and an inspiring resilience I was not used to seeing. They were different in a way that I could have only noticed by staring the man set out before me—clothes tattered and hands held wide-open—in the eye with deliberate intention.
But I looked away. And that was the most dangerous thing I could do.
Homelessness is our collective reality and “Canada’s poorest postal code” is in our own backyard. We cannot—as citizens raised with the compassion that makes us Canadian—stand by as the homeless are tossed around as a societal hot potato: relentlessly ignored and passed to those next in line to be “someone else’s problem”.
The cycle ends with us. We will not be the ones to make the next toss.
And so began this project. The Hot Potato Initiative is a youth-led movement working to eliminate the toxic stigma around homelessness and rally everyday citizens to take action.
I hold a conviction that we will see a day when the homeless are no longer forgotten in our community, the toxic stigma is laid to rest, and our fellow citizens actively fight injustice and advocate change. It is with this same conviction that I ask you to help us make this day a reality.
Ivan Chiang, Founder
We combat the toxic stigma around homelessness through our media campaign featuring the homeless.
We educate youth on homelessness through our speaker series events and online resources.
We engage the community through our various outreach initiatives and network of affiliate chapters.