After losing his job, Mike knew he’d be home more but he never thought he’d be homeless. Now in his fifties, the loss of work meant the end of the career that Mike dreamed of and banked on.
Many careers that were once considered secure are now precarious. Today’s journalists, tellers and teachers know that more than most. The concept of a job for life is passé. And while only low-skill jobs were perceived to be precarious, even highly educated professionals are experiencing economic insecurity and unstable working conditions.
It takes an average of sixteen weeks to find employment in Canada. At the same time, the average Canadian is only two paycheques from bankruptcy. The combination means, more than just jobs, housing is also precarious even for homeowners.
In Toronto, the average home is over $824,000. The cost of owning a home takes up 79 percent of the median household income.
After losing his job,
Mike knew he’d be home more
but he never thought he’d be homeless.
Loss of employment is only one uncontrollable factor contributing to homelessness. Other causes include separation and divorce, workplace injury and chronic illness. And then there’s the working poor. Over 8 percent of the working population in Toronto are working poor, a number that grew by almost 40 percent between 2000 and 2005.
Ending up homeless is easier than you think. Yet few think it could happen to them. When it does, finding a way out of homelessness is difficult but it’s not impossible thanks to organizations like Haven Toronto.
For 86 years, Haven Toronto has been a valuable resource for people impacted by poverty and homelessness.
The drop-in centre, which relies on donations to help meet service demands, has staff dedicated to finding housing and negotiating with landlords to keep people housed. The only facility of its kind in Canada focused on the unique needs of men 50+, Haven Toronto sees 250 to 400 clients a day; 98 percent of whom will never work again – all are homeless or precariously housed.