As a businessman who is concerned about the ‘mass catastrophe of homelessness’ I appreciate the way that Ian De Jong is telling it like it is. I might add that while creating more housing is the answer, we also need some short-term answers while we are waiting for the political will to respond to this catastrophe. Toronto street nurse, Cathy Crowe, managed to have Toronto City Council declare homelessness a national disaster in 1998, and the crisis has only gotten worse.
And people ask, ‘how are we going to pay it? A key question to ask is ‘What are our Priorities’? To give one example, we need to ask why our federal government is looking at purchasing 88 US fighter jets at a cost of over $100 million each. Can someone please tell us why Canada needs to buy these fighter jets, other than for air shows, when we have so many urgent humanitarian needs?
Twenty-fie years ago the federal government cancelled its National Housing policy, and there has been virtually no federal funding since that time to create new low rental housing. In Toronto alone, there are over 100,000 individuals on the waiting list of Toronto Housing Corp.
The new federal funding programs do not come anywhere close to addressing the current crisis. It is going to take an incredible effort to overcome 25 years of neglect. Greatly increased federal funding is essential to creating new low rental housing, and we all need to work together to make our voices heard.