Haven Toronto, a drop-in centre for elder homeless men, has launched a travel website, OpenAirbnb.com, designed to educate consumers on the issue of homelessness in Toronto.
OpenAirbnb.com invites people to "Sleep under the stars”, an alternative to traditional camping and glamping. No tent. No air mattress. Just a sleeping bag beneath you and the stars above.
On OpenAirbnb.com, consumers believe that they can sleep at popular and unique outdoor locations around Toronto, like Cherry Beach, Dundas Square and alongside the Don Valley Parkway. They can select their preferred location based on an array of features typical of a travel site, including ‘Heart of the City’, 'Pet Friendly’ ‘Shared Accommodations’ and ’Near Restaurants, Shopping and Theatres’.
In just a click or two, online shoppers realize that sleeping at any one of these locations is not safe and not wise. You’re exposed and you're vulnerable. No one should be sleeping here. Not by choice. And certainly not by lack of choice.
Yet every night there are 8000 people who are sleeping on Toronto streets and in city shelters. 75 percent are male and 30 percent are over the age of 50.
In Toronto, 93 percent of those who are homeless wish they had a place of their own. The waitlist for ‘Rent-Geared-to-Income’ housing is over 8 years. The length of stay in a shelter for adults 50 and older is two times as long as youth and young adults.
Through OpenAirbnb.com, Haven Toronto hopes to increase awareness and reduce the stereotypes of homelessness.
75 percent of homelessness is the result of
a loss of job, workplace injury,
change to family status (ie. death or divorce),
and health issues.
For 85 years, Haven Toronto has been a sanctuary for elder homeless men. Serving thousands, Haven Toronto sees an average of 400 clients a day. 30 percent of new clients over the age of 60.
In addition to providing nutritious meals three times daily, emergency clothing, laundry and showers, Haven Toronto offers onsite counsellors, crisis and housing support and nurses.
Haven Toronto first opened in 1933 founded by May Birchard, a Toronto school board trustee, city Councillor and social activist.