January 4th, 2018

Horwath: Kathleen Wynne’s absence in addressing Toronto homelessness this winter is inexcusable

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it’s simply wrong that Kathleen Wynne is absent from any discussions on helping communities cope with the surge need for shelter space this winter because Liberal policies helped create this crisis in the first place.

Horwath says it’s time to undo the damage caused by a Liberal cap on funding for homelessness prevention and the elimination of a program that helped pay for social housing in Toronto.

“While Toronto struggles to get people off the streets in the midst of life-threatening cold temperatures, Kathleen Wynne and her Minister responsible for Housing and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Peter Milczyn, remain silent,” said Horwath. “The Wynne government had a hand in creating this mess in the first place, through years of cuts and freezes, ranging from eliminating Toronto’s Pooling Compensation, to underfunding social housing, to ending demand based shelter funding, to failing those living with addictions or mental health issues. It’s simply inexcusable for Kathleen Wynne and her Minister to now sit idly by while Toronto struggles to accommodate people in need of shelter.”

In 2012, the provincial government consolidated several housing programs into the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI). Unlike its predecessors, the CHPI funding is capped, making it difficult for municipalities to respond to sudden surges in demand for shelter or homelessness prevention programs. The Liberal government also eliminated the Toronto Pooling Compensation in 2013, a program that helped Toronto pay for the cost of social housing.

“It’s clear that the province has a role in addressing this crisis and it’s time for Kathleen Wynne to do the right thing and put immediate solutions on the table,” said Horwath. “We must ensure that those struggling with homelessness this winter are better cared for now, next year, and in the long-term.”

New Democrats are committed to funding one-third of the costs of repairs to affordable and social housing units in partnership with municipalities and the federal government. The NDP has also pledged to create a standalone Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction services to provide coordinated, dedicated services to help those facing addictions and mental health issues.