QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Sarah Jama (Hamilton Centre) rose in Question Period for the first time today to demand the Ford government take real steps to end homelessness in Ontario.
“Homelessness is a disability justice issue,” said Jama. “We’ve known for years that people without housing are disproportionately disabled, many with multiple health conditions.
We also know that harm reduction strategies must be wide reaching and include community mental health services, crisis supports, and drug overdose supports. Under the Ford government, we know they are inadequately resourced. When people end up on the street, our response to people’s complex needs cannot be to criminalize homelessness and let people fall through the cracks.”
A recent report revealed that from June to November 2022, 22 people in Hamilton died while experiencing homelessness.
“This patchwork system doesn’t work,” said Jama. “People are best supported when they have access to fixed, permanent housing. Affordable housing with full access to tenant legal protections is critically important because it’s a basic human right. It’s a vital solution to address the homelessness crisis in a meaningful, lasting way.”
The 2023 Provincial Budget failed to meet the moment with respect to the Homelessness Prevention Program, which is still woefully inadequate to confront the scale of the homelessness crisis that Ontario faces.
“People are dying,” said Jama. “This budget won’t end homelessness in Hamilton. The Ontario NDP are taking this problem seriously. I call on the government to do the same.”