2020 will mark my 10th year at Haven Toronto. What a decade it’s been! There have been many developments for us in the last 10 years, most good and some maybe not so nice.
I mostly remember when I arrived trying to gain a deeper understanding of homelessness in Toronto, and specifically elder men who were homeless in our city. Accurate information was hard to come by and precious little existed on elder men.
I recall repeatedly reading and being told that homelessness in Toronto was not rising year over year and was not expected to rise significantly going forward. Investments were mostly non-existent, certainly meagre and most definitely not strategic and forward-thinking based on solid evidence, which was readily available even then.
The reality is homelessness in Toronto
has reached unprecedented levels,
doubling in this last decade.
We have more people homeless than ever in our history. Housing affordability and particularly deeply affordable housing is in a full-fledged crisis. The trajectory of what we are facing is bleak to put it mildly.
Yes, there have been many announcements by all levels of government, especially in the last few years. However, the reality is that many, if not all of these investments are many, many years away from impacting in any significant way the members of this community affected by deep poverty and homelessness. Advocates and service providers in Toronto and across Canada are calling on governments to declare a state of emergency in Toronto, and now other communities.
Many have lauded the federal government’s National Housing Strategy as a significant investment in solving housing precariousness and homelessness. I will end it here with a quote from a recently released report from The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer…
“It is not clear that the National Housing Strategy will reduce the prevalence of housing need relative to 2017 levels. Overall, Canada’s National Housing Strategy largely maintains current funding levels for current activities and slightly reduces targeted funding for households in core housing need.”…
I continue to hope for a better future than the last decade for the many in Toronto who struggle mightily, in one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world.