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November 22, 2006
Toronto’s most vulnerable left out in the cold if federal commitment to homeless initiatives ends
  
On National Housing Day, Mayor David Miller makes public a list of 46 projects that are slated for closure as funding deadline looms

Toronto’s most vulnerable left out in the cold if federal commitment to homeless initiatives ends
On National Housing Day, Mayor David Miller makes public a list of 46 projects that are slated for closure as funding deadline looms

Homeless teenagers seeking to reconnect with their families; young Aboriginal mothers and their children needing transitional housing; men and women honing employment skills in the hopes of becoming housed and independent; people who are in desperate need of permanent housing. These are just some of the Torontonians whose lives are about to take an even sharper turn for the worse.

The federal government’s Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), a cornerstone of the City’s strategy to end homelessness for the past six years, is scheduled to end March 31, 2007 and nothing appears to be in place to stop this.

Mayor David Miller is taking the opportunity on National Housing Day, Wednesday, Nov. 22, to make public the complete list of 46 SCPI-funded programs that will have to start winding down service in December in anticipation of the March 31 deadline, unless other funding can be found.

“The demise of these highly successful programs will have a profound and highly visible impact on some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Mayor Miller. “Unless the federal government immediately renews funding for homeless services in cities across the country - even on an interim basis - the momentum that we have built up to end homelessness in Toronto will come to a dead stop.”

Over the past six years, SCPI projects have resulted in solid progress toward ending homelessness in Canada’s largest city. This federal investment in Toronto has enabled the City, in partnership with more than 200 community agencies, to build homes, improve emergency shelters, and provide services to new Canadians, youth, single mothers and Aboriginal people. SCPI funds totaling more than $123 million since 2000 have levered at least an equal amount of investment from other sources, especially in the area of transitional and supportive housing development. SCPI is a national program and represents the first federal investment in services for homeless people in Canadian cities.

“The City has a focused strategy to end homelessness,” said Mayor Miller. “We just need continued investment by the federal government in the programs that are working.”

Some of Toronto’s most successful programs for its homeless population, and those at risk of homelessness, are on the list. Streets to Homes, a Council approved outreach approach to ending street homelessness, relies on 13 SCPI-funded projects run by community agencies and by City divisions to house people directly from the streets into permanent housing. Since February 2005, more than 800 people have been housed. Continued success depends on housing follow up services, transitional support services, and special efforts targeted at Aboriginal people and men and women leaving the correctional system with nowhere to go.

Several skills development and pre-employment services are also set to end. These include innovative programs that deliver life skills and job-readiness training to men, women, and youth who are looking at employment as a way out of often years of homelessness. Also on the cutting block are clinics to assist homeless people across the city to obtain the identification papers needed to access health care, income sources, employment, and housing.

The complete list of service programs with SCPI funding that ends March 31, 2007 is attached.

Media contacts:
Stuart Green, Office of Mayor David Miller, 416-338-7119
Phil Brown, General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, 416-392-7885


 

 

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