There are approximately 200,000 people in Canada today who are absolutely homeless, that is, living in emergency shelters or on the street.
Canada does not have a national housing strategy — the only G8 country that does not. In 2011, the Federal Government cut overall housing investments by 39%. The Federal affordable housing investment in new affordable homes is planned to shrink to zero by 2015. The Federal Homelessness Program is planned to be cut to zero by 2014. See this link for further information.
A number of community-based organizations in the Toronto Downtown East, aiming to improve the health of individuals and our communities as a whole, have come together with a common concern about the lack of affordable housing. Fred Victor is one of those organizations.
Through our work every day, we understand that good housing is an essential building block for better physical, mental, and emotional health, and conversely, a lack of housing can have devastating effects on the well-being of individuals and our communities as a whole. The average age of death for homeless men in Toronto is 45 years, and homeless women, 39 years.
This year, on November 22nd, 2013, National Housing Day, a day recognized by the Federal Government, community organizations unfurl banners from their buildings to appeal to the Federal Government and to all levels of government, for an integrated approach to affordable housing in this country.