When Andi Wiseman heard the B.C. government would waive post-secondary tuition for even more foster kids, she felt bittersweet.

As a former foster kid herself, Wiseman understands first-hand the uphill battles facing youth in care when they blow out their 19th birthday candles. They need to find a place to live, find a stable job and start paying bills all on their own, while often dealing with mental health issues and other after effects of childhood trauma.

But Wiseman, now 47, says she can’t help but remember how hard it was to get by as someone who aged out of the system without that financial support, and how she still deals with the outcomes of decisions she made as a result. Her two choices to deal with $25,000 in student loans? Ride the minimum-payment hamster wheel or declare bankruptcy.

The last two homeless people camping on the property at St. John’s Anglican Church found housing and moved out last week, said the church minister — yet it appears people are still living outside this winter in the seclusion of Jackson Park.

The homeless had been allowed to camp there with clergy permission after the Warming Room shelter closed for good July 1. At its summer peak, there were 18 tents on church property.

But the campers have slowly left after they found. Rev. Brad Smith said Wednesday the final two homeless men found a house last week.

Meanwhile he said homelessness is still an issue in Peterborough.

Toronto City Hall loves a good crackdown, now and again. Crackdowns are easy. They get headlines. Everyone looks busy and productive. Mayor John Tory in particular is known for requesting (entirely justified) towing sprees against illegally parked delivery trucks. But the sprees happen on pre-announced dates, so as not to upset anyone too much or solve the problem too quickly.

There was a different kind of crackdown Tuesday, this one ostensibly directed by city staff. Those affected quite rightly had 15 days’ notice that the city intended to dismantle an encampment under a bridge in the Rosedale Valley — a forested ravine with a busy two-lane road at the bottom of it — that a few people called home for lack of any other.

For people who believe poverty and social inequality can be defeated, these are not bright days.

At Queen’s Park we have a government that seems determined to destroy even modest signs of progress, such as higher minimum wages, the basic income pilot and social assistance improvements.

And in Ottawa, we have a government that talks a much better game than its predecessor, but that talk about social equity has yet to be backed up with decisive action.

The positive news is that Ottawa and Queen’s Park are investing $1.8 billion over 10 years for the Canada-Ontario Housing benefit. It promises to improve access to better quality, stable housing. It could decrease homelessness by helping people on the margins stay in housing they could not otherwise afford.

Ontario’s basic income pilot project was making a different in the lives of participants, and its cancellation was “devastating,” a Lakehead University researcher said.

Ravi Gokani, associate professor at Lakehead’s School of Social Work, has been speaking to people who participated in the pilot, people who didn’t, and community organizations about the impact the pilot had on the community.

“Most of the people that I’ve spoken to that had been on the pilot are back on some form of social assistance.”

Mark LeBlanc and his staff and volunteers at the Vestiaire St-Joseph food bank in Shediac typically serve 600 people from their region each month, but in December that number rose to over 700.

As executive director of the non-profit, which also offers a teaching kitchen and family resource centre, LeBlanc said the trend is “disturbing,” especially when you look more closely at the people who are in need.

“When you start looking at the numbers and breaking it down — children become a shocking number.”

City workers dismantled a homeless encampment in the Rosedale Valley on Tuesday morning despite calls from some anti-poverty advocates to abandon the plan.

The city notified those living underneath the Sherbourne Street bridge of their intention to dismantle the encampment last month, providing them with 15-days’ notice to remove their belongings.

According to city spokesperson Brad Ross, street outreach workers then visited the encampment in advance of its dismantling and were able to get everyone there, with the exception of one person who refused help, into city shelters.