The challenge in 2019 for all of us is stopping managing homelessness in Toronto and working to end it once and for all.
By Kira Heineck
There is only one solution to stopping the tragic deaths of homeless people in Toronto. It is housing. Yes, we need particular mixes of housing, including housing with supports for those unable to find and sustain homes on their own. But the key to ending homelessness is more housing.
The deaths of two women experiencing homelessness at the start of 2019, is heartbreaking. It is also embarrassing for a city and province as rich as ours and should rightly make us all angry. These senseless deaths will renew calls for immediate action, including the demand for an increase in emergency shelter beds. Read more.
Consultation on Increasing Housing Supply in Ontario:
A Guide for TAEH and Toronto’s Housing, Homelessness and Related Sectors
The Ontario government is currently asking for input on its Increasing Housing Supply in Ontario consultation. This guide will help you fill out the consultation while giving you some important points to keep in mind. Please respond to the consultation document before January 25, 2019.
We all know that Ontario has a serious affordable housing problem. According to Statistics Canada, the number of households in core housing need in Ontario is close to a quarter of a million, with Toronto having the highest percentage rate (20%) of households with core housing needs.
Not only is investing in affordable housing an opportunity to make life better for people all across Ontario for nearly all income groups and ages, it also is essential to our province’s economic and social growth.
The lack of affordable housing is especially critical to the persistently high rate of homelessness, across Ontario and in Toronto. According to the 2018 Street Needs Assessment, over 8,700 people are currently homeless in Toronto.
In particular, any provincial plan to increase housing supply must also include housing that addresses deep affordability as defined by a person or family’s assets, and not by the market, and to explore every person’s accessibility to choice in housing options. At a minimum the cost of housing must be at least equal to the amount that people have access to via benefits and pensions.
In late 2018 new research in the United States explains the link between the gap in housing affordability and homelessness.
Until January 25th, the Ontario government is asking for input on its Increasing Housing Supply in Ontario consultation.
Unfortunately, this consultation only focuses on ways to increase the supply of new ownership housing and private developments in Ontario. It explicitly states that “This consultation does not cover initiatives specifically related to community housing (e.g. social and supportive housing)”. Indigenous housing is also no doubt also excluded in this definition.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t make our voices heard! The government is overlooking a strong partner in achieving housing affordability. The consultation attempts to create a separation that shouldn’t exist. We encourage the TAEH network and all advocates for an end to homelessness to take part – the more submissions they get from our point of view the more they have to pay attention.
This guide - developed in conversation with many other organizations and voices in community-based housing - will help you fill out the consultation while giving you some important points to keep in mind. Please respond to the consultation document before January 25, 2019. This can be done through an online survey or by providing written submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to access the guide.
The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) is a community-based collective impact initiative that recognizes the critical importance of working in a new way towards a common goal This includes working with all levels of government, particularly the City of Toronto to achieve our vision.
Zero chronic and episodic homelessness in Toronto.
To mobilize the collective impact necessary to effect change in Toronto to achieve and maintain zero homelessness.
We believe homelessness is not acceptable and that we can end it.