I had to read it twice, just to make sure I had read it right…
“Mr. Jones offered a blunt assessment when he was asked if he could guarantee TCHC properties are safe.
‘No, there’s no neighbourhood that’s safe,” he said. “Why would I say something stupid like that?’”1
My heart sank. Have the leaders of vital institutions in our city lost all hope? Every day here at YU, we work towards safe, nurturing neighbourhoods in the communities we serve. Mr. Jones continued:
“Don’t just keep blaming TCHC to fix everything. We’re not the fixers,” he said. “Social housing is what we’re supposed to provide. Now we’ve got to provide social activities for our youth.”1
Of course, the Broken Window theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” suggests the vital importance our environment plays in changing our communities. Broken Windows proposed “that untended disorder and minor offences gave rise to serious crime and urban decay.”2 Jesus put it another way:
“If you’re faithful in small-scale matters, you’ll be faithful with far bigger responsibilities. If you’re crooked in small responsibilities, you’ll be no different in bigger things.” (Luke 16:10, The Voice)
That’s why Stewart, our Community Development Coordinator, worked diligently with our Shoreham Court Animators to advocate on behalf of community residents in this Jane-Finch neighbourhood to have downtrodden, pot-hole-infested paths repaved and long-darkened lights set alight once again. Faithfulness in the small things, we believe, will lead to far bigger transformation in the long-run.
But, in one sense, Mr. Jones is right. It’s not just about improving social housing. But it’s also not just about more social activities for our young people. What we really need are committed men and women who are willing to walk the long road with our youth – to enter into messiness, to choose compassion over judgment, and take a risk by mentoring a young person.
As a YU North York Team, we have committed ourselves to make our programs a welcoming place for caring adults who want to share their journey of faith and success in life with a young person. Please, join us! Let’s create safe neighbourhoods.
1 - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-public-housing-safety-under-scrutiny-after-teens-death/article8878227/
2 – http://www.city-journal.org/2009/nytom_ny-crime-decline.html