Archive for March, 2015

New Amazon Review

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

5 Stars This book opens your mind to the plight of the homeless!

ByChrison March 25, 2015
Format: Paperback

Dennis deserves a medal. What a great service he’s doing by showing the world the truth about homeless people. They deserve our compassion not condemnation. I was moved to tears by the real life characters and the struggles they face, often through no fault of their own. Keep up the good work Dennis, and God bless you. Looking forward to reading more.

By Bruce Deachman, Ottawa Citizen, February 24, 2013

Read more:

OTTAWA — Ottawa police detective Tim Nolan takes it personally if he can’t track down someone’s next of kin.

Although most deaths around Ottawa don’t require a lot of legwork to find family members — they’re often sitting in a chair beside the deceased when he dies — some are more difficult, and Nolan will scour databases and search engines the world over to find a blood relative.

And with five of his six years in a patrol car spent in the ByWard Market, he’s familiar with those living on the street and in shelters.

“I have a real soft spot for those guys.” he says. “They’re just victims of their vices, and I want to carry out my investigation with empathy and make sure my I’s are dotted and my T’s crossed, because at the end of the day, I want to be able to walk away from this investigation — or any investigation — holding my head up and saying, ‘That’s what I did, and I did it right.’”

The death of a homeless person can bring with it distinct challenges — finding family members, for example, or someone willing to claim the body. The resources devoted to seeing that a transient’s final sendoff is in keeping with what he or his family would want are considerable, and can involve the City, coroners, funeral directors, police and social agencies.

In the event that death occurs on the street, a coroner first rules on whether it is suspicious. If it is, then the police investigate accordingly. If not, then the next step is for the police to find and notify the deceased’s family.

“There’s a tremendous sense of failure if we can’t find someone’s next of kin,” says Nolan. “That said, there’s a tremendous sense of elation when we do find the next of kin.”

Sometimes, he says, people on the street might carry a note indicating whom to contact in the event of an accident, or worse. A bank card or library card, cellphone, expired driver’s license or piece of mail can also help locate family. In some cases, the funerals are prearranged. In others, however, information is scarce.

If a deceased has been arrested before, their sheet may include the name of a family contact. If he has a criminal record, an address will be listed. If necessary, Nolan will contact Interpol for assistance.

“But something as easy as Googling his name can help,” he adds, “or Facebook.”

Nolan tells of a particularly vexing case last summer involving the death of a 50ish Ottawa man, living in community housing and estranged from his family. According to the Canadian Police Information Centre database, a man with the same name and date-of-birth was linked to an address in Guelph. A phone call to Guelph police confirmed that the deceased’s mother lived at the address, but when police arrived, they discovered that she, too, had died.

But the Guelph police passed along a Kingston address where the woman’s name was once linked to a police report. Kingston police, meanwhile, told Nolan that the woman had another son who, in the 1980s, lived in Ingleside, near Cornwall. OPP in Ingleside had no information, so Nolan looked on and started calling people in that area with the same surname.

“Lo and behold,” says Nolan, “one guy said, ‘Check with my brother, he’s the genealogist of the family.’”

Nolan did, and within a couple of days later learned that the deceased was a distant relative, and that he had a brother in Bowmanville. Nolan eventually found the brother — a transport truck driver — and reached him on his cellphone on the Trans-Canada Highway outside Fredericton, N.B.

“Our goal is to have an officer give that death notification face-to-face,” Nolan says, “but that just wasn’t the case this time.

“But when I hung up the phone,” he adds, “it was like solving a major case. It was that gratifying.”

It’s rare that a death leads down such a convoluted path, and Nolan says most cases are resolved in a matter of hours.

“In my two years here, I haven’t heard of a body we had to bury without finding the next of kin.”

But most homeless deaths in Ottawa don’t involve the police to such a degree. The Ottawa Mission, for example, has run its own 14-bed hospice since 2001, with most of its patients previously living in marginal housing — rooming houses and shelters — before being referred to them by a hospital.

Unlike other hospices, such as Maycourt, where patients typically have family they can stay with until the last few weeks of their lives, the average stay for patients at the Mission’s hospice is between four and six months.

“They’re much younger,” notes Marg Smeaton, the Mission’s manager of health care services. “So apart from the fact that they have a disease that’s killing them, the rest of their body is still young.

“And they’re tough. They’ve lived tough lives out in the cold.”

Most of their patients at the Mission hospice have a do-not-resuscitate order in place, so a coroner need not be called when one dies. Instead, many of the downtown organizations whose clients are largely transient call Kelly Funeral Home on Somerset Street West.

“There’s a natural tendency to want to help people,” says Kelly funeral director Gordon Walker. “That’s always been the foundation of funeral service, and the business side is quite separate.

“So our relationship with organizations, and people who are less fortunate, perhaps, than ourselves, has always been very strong. It doesn’t have to be someone who is homeless; it could be someone who is just down on their luck.”

Covering the costs of a burial depends on a number of factors. Certainly family may wish to claim the body and take control of the situation, but often it can’t or won’t. If the deceased received income from either the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, or contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, then some of that money will go to pay for associated costs of burial.

If the family can’t or won’t cover the costs, then they must apply to the municipal government, in this case the City of Ottawa, to pick up the tab, although the remuneration the City offers doesn’t necessarily cover all the costs.

Funeral homes, for example, are paid $1,400 from the City for each such funeral, while its costs — including an inexpensive casket and cremation — typically run closer to $3,500, leaving the funeral home to make up the difference.

“We’ve always had our front-line staff care for needs of the individual and the family,” notes Walker. “In the case of some people who are homeless, their family are actually street people, so we’re happy to provide visitation and the opportunity to collectively say goodbye, whether here at the funeral home or the Mission, and usually they’ll have some sort of ceremony.

“Our job is to connect the dots,” he adds.

Kelly’s will also help find family members, and it’s not uncommon, says Walker, for a body to remain in their care for upwards of six months while they look.

“We might find someone who worked with them years ago, or who was a neighbour. Many times we’ve had success like that, and it’s led to a family member.”

And while families may claim ashes and remains for funerals elsewhere, area cemeteries all have land devoted to burials of the homeless, who are often interred without a marker. The Mission maintains a group plot at Beechwood Cemetery where 40 or 50 cremated remains are buried and names and dates added to a common headstone as needed. Additionally, as cemeteries run out of real estate, they’ll secure space at other graveyards.

The rarest of homeless deaths is one in which no family or friends can be found. In her 11 years at the Mission, during which a little more than 200 deaths have occurred, Smeaton says it’s only happened twice that a deceased body remained unclaimed. And while she doesn’t have the resources that the police do, she’ll exhaust every corner of the Internet before giving up.

“There’s almost always someone I can find,” she says. “We have time.”

In the event that no family member can be found, however, the body is governed by the Anatomy Act, in which case the coroner switches hats and becomes an Inspector of Anatomy. It’s his job to ensure that every investigative lead has been exhausted and then issue a warrant — Warrant to Dispose of an Unclaimed Body — to the municipality where the death occurred.

“The municipality is then obligated to bury the body,” says regional coroner Dr. Roger Skinner. “So they will often, through their own social services department, do their own search to see if there’s anyone they know of to claim the body, in addition to whether the decedent was in receipt of social benefits that might help cover the costs of burial.”

It’s then the municipality’s responsibility to have a funeral provider inter the body, usually in a very basic manner — likely no service or marker, and the most inexpensive container. Unclaimed bodies are not usually cremated, in the event that family members are eventually found and have their own wishes for the disposal.

Dr. Skinner estimates that these sorts of burials number only in the dozens each year in Ottawa.

“It’s quite a process, and it’s something we try to do well because obviously there are situations where people don’t have apparent claimants, but in fact there are people out there who are interested and do want to provide this last service to a family member or a friend. So we do diligently try to find any claimants that we can.”

Read more:




“Dennis! I haven’t seen you for  few days. I was worried that something had happened to you. Then, this morning I saw this guy with a with that scarf wrapped around his face. I thought you were a Muslim.”

“Hi Chuck, I had a few doctor’s appointments. That’s why I haven’t been here.”

“I hope he had good news for you.”

“Yes, it was good. I was told That I wouldn’t need to wear a heart monitor.”

Chuck said, “Wearing a heart monitor isn’t that bad. It’s better than being dead.”

“I notice you’re not using your new scooter. Are you having problems with it?”

Chuck replied, “No, what happened is I went to bed at 8:00 pm, I slept right through until 5:30 am. I took my pills, took Goldie for her walk. I thought of taking my new scooter, but I’d have to untie the cover, bring it inside, because of the wind. that takes nearly a half hour. My bus leaves at 6:15. I thought I’d be too rushed. Then I’d worry about where I could charge it downtown.

“A lady is coming by this afternoon to check my bank statement, to see that everything that is supposed to be paid is being paid. Then I’ll have some papers to sign. Next week they’ll be doing my income tax. I’ll be glad to have that over with.

“You know the lady that I talk with most mornings? Cathy, I’m sure I’ve introduced you. Anyway, she’s going to be away for the next three weeks on a Caribbean cruise. I’d love to do that. If I could sneak her tickets I wouldn’t even mind dressing as a woman, just to get on that ship.

“I was reading the obituaries and noticed that a friend of my dad’s had died. I didn’t know him too well, but about five years ago he decided that he was too old and useless. He lit a cigarette, sat down in the chair facing the window and never got out. I don’t think he was all there. Sometimes, when I was in church, I’d see him sneak out, pull a tube out of his pocket, then sniff gas out of somebody’s car. I know that warps your brain, affects your heart and lungs, damages your liver and kidneys. I’m not one to talk, being an alcoholic for so many years.

“I went to a high school reunion a few years back. I wasn’t one to socialize much. I had chores to do on the farm. At the reunion I didn’t recognize a single person.

“After I leave here I’m going for my blood tests, then over to the grocery store, then I’ll take the bus home.”

I asked, “So that means you’ll be taking three buses?”

“Yeah, and it’s a damned nuisance. I should also go to the church to see if they’ll allow me to plug in my scooter for a while.”

“Take care, Chuck, maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.”





10 Reasons Homeless People Sleep Out in the Cold – and Die

Reposted from:

You can’t miss them when you walk around a city: shapeless masses pressed up against buildings or into corners. Homeless people sleeping outside, even now when the temperature is cold and dropping. The lucky ones preserve their body heat under a pile of blankets; others make do with cardboard boxes or layers of clothes.

Some die. About 700 a year in the United States. The solution seems obvious: their lives would be saved if they slept in the warmth of a homeless shelter. But there aren’t enough shelter beds to go around, and some of the beds that do exist come with very unappealing strings attached:

1. The “#1 Reason Homeless People Don’t Use Shelters [is the] Lack of Available Beds,” writes formerly homeless Kylyssa Shay. Shelters are over-crowded in many, if not most, cities. People must line up hours before the facility opens to secure a bed for the night, and go through the same process the next day and the next day and the next.

2. Those who hold jobs (and many homeless people do) can’t always be in line at 4:30 in the afternoon, so they cannot get a shelter bed. Those who choose to stand in line may give up on finding employment because of the schedule.

3. As if homelessness didn’t cause enough physical discomfort (hunger, untreated pain from medical conditions, often being dirty, carrying all of one’s belongings), shelters often add a couple, like bed bugs and body lice, which are inevitable when a different homeless person sleeps in a bed each night. Contagious diseases are also common among a population that lacks access to nutritious food and adequate medical care. Shelters don’t have the means to quarantine the ill from the general population, making a night in a shelter a health risk. Hepatitis and tuberculosis are particularly common.

4. Straddling the line between uncomfortable and life-threatening is the lack of shoes that fit. Shoe theft is a common problem for the homeless, and is particularly common in shelters. (Theft generally is not unusual.) Not having shoes, or having only shoes that don’t fit well, can cause wounds that make it challenging or impossible to walk, and there are precious few places in a city where a homeless person can recuperate for a while without having to move along.

5. A dog or cat is often a homeless person’s best friend and only family. For young women on the street alone, a dog can also provide indispensable protection. But shelters for homeless people rarely accept their companion animals. Many people prefer sleeping outdoors to giving up their beloved friends.

6. Some shelters close their doors to people who are under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. This is an understandable rule that not surprisingly leaves some people who need shelter out on the street.

7. Nevertheless, some shelters are known as operation centers for drug dealers and are therefore considered dangerous. Some homeless people prefer their chances outside.

8. There are few family shelters that accept single fathers with children. Sometimes the solution is for the children to spend the night in the shelter while dad sleeps outside.

9. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people often face discrimination and “physical risk” in homeless shelters. For instance, transgender “women (born with male genitalia but identify and live as women) forced to take shelter with heterosexual men are frequently subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.” Some shelters simply deny entry to transgender people.

10. Some faith-based homeless shelters require guests to sit through sermons and even personal appeals to convert to their hosts’ religion. Enduring these sometimes derogatory, sometimes coercive tactics day after day is too much for some, especially people with strong religious convictions of their own.

You can do something to help end homelessness. The National Coalition for the Homeless recommends, “Get connected to a coalition. Volunteer at your local, state, or national housing or homeless advocacy coalition, or make a financial contribution to support their work. For the name of the coalition nearest you, see NCH’s Directory of National Housing and Homeless Organizations.”

Homelessness NYC

The state budget will include almost $440 million for anti-homelessness services for the next four years.

The package is supposed to “prevent thousands of individuals and children from entering the homeless shelter system,” Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, the Queens Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Social Services committee, told the New York Daily News.

The plan includes $220 million in earmarked funds over the next four years that were originally set aside for rental subsidies for domestic violence victims, seniors and working families who can’t afford rent, according to the newspaper. The package also includes $15 million for a new pilot project that aims to increase housing allowances to try to prevent evictions as well as $40 million in new funding for rental subsidies needed to prevent people from ending up in the city’s, already crowded homeless shelters.

“This is nearly $440 million in critical resources to combat these record levels of homelessness and prevent more families from being displaced,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, according to the newspaper.

The city’s homeless population is at 59,068 people, including 25,000 kids, which is a record high. [NYDN] — Claire Moses




“Hi, Chuck, I saw your new vehicle parked in front of the coffee shop. It looks great. Have you had any problems keeping it charged?”

“Not so far, I’ll see today. I should be okay, I came straight here and I don’t plan to make any stops on the way home.

“A guy brought me a coffee this morning. As soon as he handed it to me, Goldie decided to poke her head up. The coffee went all over my cap, my glove and pants. That’s why I’m collecting change with this paper cup.

“I’m not going to be staying past nine o’clock. My hand and leg are freezing where the coffee spilled.

“I noticed that my neighbor still has his vehicle parked in front of the apartment. He doesn’t even have it registered. I’m sure my landlord is going to have something to say about that extension cord hanging out of his window. He had his chance — I was willing to share my spot with him for forty bucks a month, but he turned it down. That would have worked out for both of us. Oh well, it’s not my problem.

“I guess I told you that my TV satellite was turned off. I’m still disputing the money they say I owe them. I had all the invoices with me this morning. I got a lady to check them over and she agreed that they prove I don’t owe owe them the money they claimed. I wanted to verify it in case they take me to court. It started with a mistake made by the bank. They put the money into the wrong account, but I showed the TV company that I had paid the money. It’s up to them to deal with the bank. I didn’t pay this months bill, instead that money went to a cable TV company. It’s nearly two years now that I’ve been fighting them over this.

“I’m getting better reception now than I was with the satellite. I don’t get image degradation when we have heavy snow or rain. It’s generally more dependable and I get a better choice of programs. That doesn’t matter much since most of what I watch is hockey and football, but it was damned annoying to lose the picture midway through a game.

“The weather bureau is predicting rain tomorrow, so I may not be here.”



This page is dedicated to my friend and brother by another mother, Sid Nachman.

Strictly for Seniors

Buy it on Amazon:

Product Description

My book is really non-fiction with a bit of bullshit thrown in for good luck. It’s about how I grew up in the forties and fifties in short-story format for readers who can’t take their face out of Facebook. It may appeal to some older folks, too. It takes you into my world, how I grew up as a child, battled my demons and found happiness on Delancey Street in West Philadelphia. The stories attempt to answer burning questions like, “Could the kids of today survive in that time or would they run home to Mommy? Was sex treated the same way? Would you be a schmuck or a hero on Delancey Street?”
Pastor Bob Bremer, Indiana says, “This book as well as the Preview is a must read for all Christians. Sid has captured the best and the worst of an era long gone by.”
The Reverend, Ladd K. Harris, Episcopal Priest retired, comments, “This book captures the author’s early life in Philadelphia, Pa. with wit, charm, creativity and realism and gives you some good laughs.”.
See continually changing excerpts of these stories at


About the Author
At 77 years of age Sid still has a smile on his face. Surviving manic depression and four failed marriages seems to have made him stronger. "I'm happier than a pig in shit. As long as my jigger stands up it's a beautiful day." He believes that life is preordained. "You can twist and turn but God already has it all figured out."

Now is the best time of my life.At 77 years of age I have never been happier. It’s as if God decided to give me a break. “You’ve survived melanoma 3 times, a ten year bout with manic depression, and four failed marriages. I don’t know what other kupvatics (headaches) to hurl at you. Maybe I’ll give you a few years of peace.” I guess I shouldn’t give myself any kinahoras (pats on the back). Mom said it might come back to bite me. So come hell or high water I’m going to enjoy myself. No more bullshitting myself or anybody else for whatever time I have left. I’ll always remember that life is besharet (preordained). We can twist and turn but God has it all figured out.


Product Details: Strictly for Seniors

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 359 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477462244
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 14 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007CLEZX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,267 Paid in Kindle Store


Excerpts From A Roll In Hay (In Progress)


This book is for you my precious children, who turned out much better than expected as well as anyone else who wants to read it. I love each of you kids even though I don’t talk to you that much. What I say to you now is wrinkling my brow, but I’ll say it anyway, whether you like it or not. So here goes. Life is and will always be an adventure that’s “besharet”, preordained by God. He offers us many paths to take, to learn, to laugh, to cry and to strengthen our resolve on the long twisting road to eternity. Try as we might to turn night into day and think that we can, He’s always watching our every move. I’m not a religious man, but I do believe God’s always there through the good and the bad if you just take His hand. He took my hand when I wasn’t all there, watched over me when I was a lost child disrespecting my mother and dad. He kept on holding my hand as I grew from a boy into a man, much too selfish and proud. Boy was I bad! I thought I knew everything, never learned how to get my foot out of my mouth. Why did God wait so long to teach me what happiness is when it’s so hard to pee? Read my book and you’ll see that I’m not so bad. I’m worse. I’ve included graphic footage of my exploits with women, not to show off but to prove to you that my mother wasn’t the only person who shaped my thinking. Please don’t let your children read this book until they are much older. I trust you’ll use your discretion. In the interim try to remember me as just a very happy, dirty old man having fun watching you from the fifty yard line of my mind marked, “BE A GOOD FATHER EVEN WHEN MY KIDS THINK I’M A PAIN IN THE ASS!”


This book should not be read by:
1) Bible Thumpers
2) Lilly-Pure Persons
3) Readers who cringe at cursing
4) Anyone who thinks his shit doesn’t stink

*To all of the above I humbly beg your pardon. I grew up in a neighborhood where curse words, vulgarity and self-deprecating humor were imprinted in my soul and as hard as I try never left me.


“Mom! Contrary to what you said I’m definitely not the handsomeness or smartest guy in the world. There are a few other people out there who are better looking and more intellectually gifted than me although most of them are dead!.…Yes! I know I shouldn’t think that I’m better than everyone else, even if I am!.. Mom! I know it’s a sin!…Yes, I know God will punish me!… Mother! Put your face up close to mine! Give me one of your big smackarooes on the lips! Not everything you told me is bullshit! Some of your truths got through! Don’t you dare think you wasted your time. I am the man you wanted me to be except for a few little quirks! I’m giving you an A+ for effort whether you like it or not!… Mother! Please don’t cry! You’re making me feel like shit!”


This book is dedicated to my chief editor and loving sweetheart,Linda. Everything contained herein would have never have seen the light of day if not for her perseverance and love.


All my life I search
Far and wide
Half-blind with
Bloodshot eyes
And too many brides
For a hint of my mother
in another woman
All I find
Is another mistake
And another bride
Until one day
God drops by to talk
He says,
“Sid. Stop playing games!”
For once in my life I listen
I try to behave
Lo and behold
He touches my soul
And plunks down Linda
I thank Him and promise
I’ll be good the rest of life
I have no choice
He’s always watching me
And I know
I don’t have much time left
To be good





Virtual Assistant

I have been working with Leah Dasalla for the past month. She has been creating posters for the sale of my book Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People. On a daily basis she has been posting these to major social media websites.

Leah is a single mother, funding her son’s schooling in the Philippines. As she says, “I’m living a tough life here sir and being a single mom, it is even harder. A dollar goes a long way in my country. but I have a heart for good people.”

I find her work of very high quality. She is polite, punctual, generous and her prices are very reasonable.

Please consider hiring the services of Leah Dasalla as Virtual Assistant. You will find her to be a great asset to your business. She may be contacted at:

Dennis Cardiff


View her profile on LinkedIn:




Posted: March 20, 2015 in Uncategorized





20 March 2015

“Dennis,” shouted Chuck, “do you notice anything different about me?”

“Yeah, Chuck, you have a new baseball cap. The one you were using yesterday was too floppy. It was difficult for people to drop change into it.”

“No, I don’t mean my hat! Look what I’m sitting on!

“You’re sitting on a walker, that must mean you brought your new vehicle downtown.”

“Yes, did you notice it parked beside the coffee shop?”

“No, I came from the other direction. I’ll look at it later.”

“I just hope that the battery kept its charge. The mechanic changed a few things that should make a difference. He moved a wire here, made an adjustment there. If its dead, when I try to start it, I’m going to ask at the church to see if I can plug into their electrical supply for an hour. I think they’ll let me. If not it’s back to the drawing board.

“Here’s a philosophical question for you. Before they invented the drawing board, what did people go back to? Think on that for a while.

“I don’t have much to do with the church, even though I was brought up Catholic. They’ve got too many rules, too many reasons for not allowing you to take mass, or be buried in hallowed ground.

“I think I told you that my father was a grave-digger. There was this fellow, Lonnie. I guess you’d call him the town drunk. One morning my dad walked to a grave he’d dug the day before, and lying at the bottom was Lonnie. He looked up and asked, “John, is that you? Where am I.”

“Lonnie would panhandle during the summer when it was warm and go to jail in the winter. Usually he’d do something like throw a brick through a store window. One time there were two cops standing near the store. He said to them, “I want to go to jail. Do I have to throw this brick, or not? ” They put him in jail.

“Lonnie was a good guy. Everybody was sad when he died, but the church wouldn’t bury him in hallowed ground. I don’t know what all the reasons were. They buried him outside the cemetery fence with a proper marker. My dad didn’t think that was right, so one night he dug him up and reburied him inside the fence. There was no grave marker. If one of his friends came and wanted to pay their respects, dad would say to them, “No, no, he’s not there. Come with me. I’ll show you where he’s buried.” He’d  take them to the unmarked grave.”

“I can’t keep up with all these religious rules. They’re always changing them.

“Well, Dennis, if the weather is decent I’ll see you next week.”

That was my cue to move on. “I’ll see you next week, Chuck.”


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