Fred Victor is committed to ending homelessness. As an organization that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of people experiencing poverty and homelessness, we are deeply concerned about the consequences of clearing the encampments that have emerged across the City of Toronto at this time.
The work we do at Fred Victor is based on a Housing First approach. This guiding principle is predicated on the philosophy and research that a successful path out of homelessness begins with stable housing. People experiencing homelessness need permanent and affordable housing as a starting point – to then access the supports and services needed to maintain that housing.
We believe that, without appropriate housing options available, these encampments should not be cleared.
While we acknowledge that makeshift shelters and tents are by no means an adequate housing solution, the encampments people have created in the city’s public spaces offer a community of support and vital connection and a sense of belonging for many unhoused people right now.
We also cannot ignore the difficult realities of the current pandemic. It has been widely shared that the US Centers for Disease Control have stated, “Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”
This must be considered within the context of an existing homelessness crisis that has the City’s shelter system operating at capacity.
Therefore, Fred Victor is joining the growing number of voices calling for a moratorium on encampment evictions and a repeal of the by-laws that make it illegal to camp.
Fred Victor will continue to work wholeheartedly with its partners and other community stakeholders to develop and implement solutions for people who need a safe place to live. We will continue to do everything we can to support the most vulnerable residents in our city.