A year later, what I’ve learned

By Daphna Nussbaum, Solutions Manager TAEH

On March 19, I celebrated my 1-year 'workaversary' with TAEH. I can remember my first day like it was yesterday.  I joined the Trillium Foundation staff's Day of Learning.  This involved visiting a Winter Respite site at 354 George Street and attending a discussion on homelessness in a community centre with panelists that included Kira Heineck.  The respite site, located on George St., was run by Homes First, one of the TAEH’s community partners.  I remember entering the site with eyes wide open as I had never been to a shelter or respite before.  I was impressed with the way it was run and the provisions that existed for individuals staying there.  On that day, I recall Kira saying that there was a list within the City that had details of every TO road and every condition of that road, but it did not have a centralized list of all the people experiencing homelessness. 

Now, a year later I can say that I’ve learned a thing or two and that we are developing a By-Name List of people experiencing chronic homelessness with the City through SMIS (Shelter Management Information System) that will grow to include individuals who aren't just coming from the shelter system.

Some people jokingly assume that my title comes with the monumental task of coming up with solutions to end homelessness. While I am very much committed  to ending homelessness, it takes more than one individual, let alone organization to do it.  It takes a city and more importantly, a community. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to work collectively towards the goal of getting people experiencing homelessness into housing with supports. I am fortunate to be working alongside some incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated individuals who continue to teach me about the sector.  I am also grateful for the community partners and supporters that bring their expertise and resources to the Alliance.

Over the next year, I hope to celebrate more milestones in our goal to end homelessness. I hope we will see an increase in deeply affordable housing supply. I hope there will be changes to City by-laws that present barriers to affordable housing. I hope we break shovels in the ground for Housing Now. I hope we can better engage landlords to help us house people.  I hope that Housing Opportunities Toronto better addresses the housing needs of those who are marginalized. I hope more people with lived experience are engaged in this important work.  I hope all three levels of government start working together more cohesively;  I also hope more individuals and organizations join us in this incredible shift that we are experiencing right now so that we don't need to exist in a few years time.

Here's to getting to ZERO TO!