QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPPs Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre), NDP Housing Critic MPP Jessica Bell (University-Rosedale), and MPP Chris Glover (Spadina–Fort York) held a press conference with affordable housing advocates this morning, calling on Ford to prioritize solutions to address homelessness and the affordable housing crisis in the budget that will be released later this week.
Almost 60 advocates from various homelessness and shelter advocacy and service organizations traveled to Queens Park from across Ontario to deliver a strong message to the Ford Conservative government: put affordable housing in the budget.
“The Ford government has the political power to end homelessness right now,” said Wong-Tam. “Instead, they are letting people with serious health and mental health conditions die in our streets and communities while refusing to acknowledge that homelessness is a crisis.”
The Association of Municipalities Ontario notes that Ontario's per capita spending on programming is the lowest in Canada, with $2,000 per person less than the national average.
“Under Ford’s government, the housing crisis for Ontarians of all income levels has gotten worse,” said Bell. “The Conservatives are not taking the homelessness and affordable housing crisis seriously. The budget is coming out on Thursday. We need it to include a comprehensive plan to end homelessness once and for all - not more empty promises.”
In Toronto, shelters in every sector are full or near capacity. There are almost 85,000 households on the Toronto waitlist for subsidized housing. The city’s waitlist for supportive housing, which is essential to ending chronic homelessness, is now over 24,000 people deep with a wait time of 12 years.
“The Auditor General of Ontario has said that the Ford Conservative government has no actual plan to end homelessness or to address the housing crisis,” said Glover. “This is absolutely unacceptable.”
In 2021, the independent Financial Accountability Office concluded that the province will not achieve its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025.
Sui Mee Cheng, Executive Director of Street Haven
“We desperately want to bring on more affordable housing for women in need — but we can’t. Our organization is running structural deficits because we are operating public essential services that have been historically underfunded by our government. We have been asked by governments to unrealistically fundraise to operate these public services including supportive housing units that we operate on the behalf of the province. Everywhere we turn to for help, we are sent elsewhere. It is like a vortex where we spin endlessly.”
Sarah Crosby, a new parent with a six-week old infant who has been unable to access an available family shelter space for weeks in the GTA
“My daughter is seven-weeks old but shelters tell me they have no capacity. I am still waiting, and at this rate will end up on the street. A family should not have to be homeless for six or eight weeks. I called before I was homeless but there is no room in shelters.”