Everybody Needs a Home
Toronto city started tracking deaths of homeless people in 2017, when an average of 1.9 died per week; in 2021, an average of 4.3 of the unhoused died each week.
This was one of the stark statistics researchers Sandra Fawcett and Helen Gill from Christ Church St. James, Anglican, shared this February. EcuLinks Etobicoke and KAIROS Toronto West co-sponsored the event Everyone Needs A Home – Understanding the lack of affordable housing in Etobicoke. The two presenters led the audience of over 70 people through this sobering, comprehensive presentation of striking trends and statistics at All Saints Kingsway.
After clarifying that unaffordable housing means more than 30% of household income is spent on housing, they launched into how the unhoused are trying to cope, who comprises the unhoused, and how factors such as lack of health support, lack of employment opportunities, lack of available housing, racism, and weakened rent control have all contributed to this crisis. Although Mss. Fawcett and Gill asked the audience to send messages to the Mayor and City Councillors to open more warming centres and extend hours, Toronto City Council later voted 15-11 against opening its four centres 24 hours a day to provide shelter for the city’s most vulnerable residents up to April 15. The two also suggested we demand our City Council improve housing and prepare for increased homelessness; “it is cheaper to house the homeless than to help [after the impact of homelessness] through other ways”.