Where the parties stand: On homelessness

From the TVO Today article

HAMILTON — When it comes to preventing homelessness and supporting unhoused people in Ontario, “we’ve known what the solutions are for a very long time,” says Jesse Jenkinson, a postdoctoral fellow at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions. “It’s just whether or not anyone’s going to finally do something about it.” And the need for action, experts say, is great.

In March, Hamilton reported that 1,596 people had been actively homeless in the past three months. That number has climbed after COVID-19 — it sat at 1,105 as of April 1, 2020. The pandemic exacerbated homelessness by limiting shelter occupancy, reducing the availability of supports, and increasing the cost of living.

But even before then, homelessness had been on the rise in the province. A 2021 Statistics Canada study looking at data from 2010 to 2017 concluded that “homelessness in Ontario has been worsening over time, has been affecting younger cohorts, and has shifted geographically to smaller but rapidly growing municipalities.” A 2019 study in the medical journal BMJ Open estimated that, in 2016, about 60,000 Ontarians experienced homelessness. That was about 67 per cent higher than in 2007.

TVO.org speaks with experts about what the province needs to do to combat homelessness — and asks Ontario’s four major political parties to weigh in on their plans to address this worsening crisis.

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