Thank you for your editorial in support of 1,000 new shelter beds to address the needs of Toronto’s homeless population. Your editorial also correctly pointed out that “a permanent home, not a shelter, is the real solution to homelessness,” and that all levels of government must address the housing crisis that affects so many. This is especially true in a housing market like Toronto, where it is pretty much impossible for low-income people to afford housing in the rental market.
The genuine concern expressed by the general public this winter about the need to bring homeless people in out of the cold has been wonderful. Unfortunately, asking city staff to provide any number of new shelter beds will not magically make it so. Over the past few years, many sites have been found, and rejected. Public meetings are held, at which potential users are demonized and vulnerable people are portrayed as a threat to the local community. The locations of shelters and other types of affordable and supportive housing should not be judged based on who is expected to live there.