Report card finds rising family homelessness, renews call for affordable housing|
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Toronto -- "The Toronto Report Card on Homelessness 2001" finds that
homelessness, especially among families, continues to rise. The City of
Toronto's second report card also finds that people are staying in emergency
shelters for longer periods of time, because of a critical shortage of
affordable housing, and more people are being forced to use shelters as
housing. Toronto's housing shortage is worsened by the fact that almost no new
rental housing is being built, and previously affordable units are being lost
to rising rents.
Other key findings include increases in the number of first-time shelter users,
the length of time people stay in the shelter system, the number of children,
especially young children, staying in shelters, and the number of people
turning to food banks.
"The Toronto Report Card on Homelessness 2001" reviewed the action taken over
the last year by each level of government, often in partnership with the
community sector, to address the recommendations of the Mayor's Homelessness
Action Task Force, which were released in January 1999.
There appears to be some renewed government interest in affordable housing. The
City's Let's Build program is up and running, with targets set for the next few
years. As well, the federal government's Supporting Communities Partnership
Initiative (SCPI) will help to build some transitional housing. But these
initiatives alone will not produce enough affordable housing to meet the
current or future demand.
"The City is showing leadership through the Let's Build program," says
Councillor Mike Feldman (Ward 10), who chairs the Let's Build Capital Revolving
Fund Reference Group. "But the City can't do it alone. We need the federal
government to come through on the Assisted Rental Housing Program that they
promised in the Red Book."
e second Report Card on Homelessness provides insights into the state of
homelessness in Toronto today, the factors contributing to homelessness, and
the steps that need to be taken, by all levels of government, to both eliminate
homelessness today and reduce homelessness in the future.