The homelessness emergency is a public health crisis that requires urgent action.
Before the COVID-19 global pandemic, Toronto was already facing a homelessness crisis of massive proportion. During the pandemic, the crisis has become more visible and incredibly more acute. Estimates put the number of people in shelters, temporary respites and encampments at over 10,000. There has been a marked increase in people experiencing complex addiction and mental health challenges living on the streets. The magnitude of this crisis requires a co-ordinated, intergovernmental, human-rights-based emergency response.
The safety and stability of our neighbourhoods is at risk. Advocates and front line workers supporting the encampments continue to ring alarm bells about the inhumane conditions that people are living with. Residents who live adjacent to the encampments and shelters are demanding that the City do more to find more appropriate and permanent housing solutions for people who are under-housed.
Against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the homelessness emergency in Toronto - and across Canada - is a public health crisis that requires urgent action.
It has taken us years to get to this point, as successive governments have abdicated their responsibility to ensure that people had safe and affordable access to shelter, food, mental health and addictions support. The repercussions of decades of underinvestment from all three levels of government is not going to be fixed overnight, but there ARE things you can do now.
To learn more about the housing and homelessness crisis, and what you can do to help, please keep reading.