The pandemic and the associated recession provide an opportunity for us to reconsider the ‘normal’ state of affairs. Now is the time to envision a bold new normal and learn from the failures of the previous status quo.
In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated number of Canadians experiencing homelessness each year was anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000. Difficulties in collecting data around the exact number of people experiencing homelessness means that this number could be much higher. In Toronto alone, an estimated 10,000 people were homeless on any given night – with over 500 sleeping rough outside on the streets, or in encampments in Toronto’s ravines, waterfront, and under overpasses. The wait list for supportive housing in Toronto has grown from 700 in 2009, to over 18,000 now, and is projected to rise to 37,000 without new investments.