OPINION: Changes needed

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Technology is something most of us take for granted.

But for the majority of us, technology is great…until it doesn’t work. Then we freak out, trying to find immediate solutions.

Think of folks who are not so fortunate. We’re talking about people who can’t afford to have a cell phone or computer.

A local resident, Henry, is one such gentleman. As you’ll see in our story, “Complainants left out in the cold,” society’s assumptions on technology have indeed left people out of their residences.

For Henry, the only way he could “attend” a virtual hearing of the Landlord Tenant Board Tribunal was to call in via a pay phone.

Yes, they still do exist.

So Henry was outdoors, plugging coins into the phone to say connected on a call that would determine whether he’d be able to remain in his apartment.

He ran out of coins.

Henry was disconnected from the call.

And evicted.

That’s a true disconnect – between those of us in society with cell phones essentially attached to our hands, with multiple devices within arm’s reach and those who just don’t.

Homelessness is a growing problem across the province. It behooves the Ford government to bend over backwards to accommodate people in terms of trying to stay in their residences. Going virtual for something as vital as housing is one thing. Ensuring everyone can have access to such a process is another, and one the government clearly did not anticipate.

Then again, we’re talking about elected officials who take home six-figure salaries and quickly connect to a beefy pension plan, or civil servants who are plugged into envious salaries and gold-plated pension and benefit plans.

Cell phones and computers are necessities in their minds, to the point it is assumed everyone has one or has ready access.

There are some options for people such as Henry, but until the Internet and computers are in every single residence in Ontario, there must be in-person options for people.

The government cannot hang up on these folks.

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