Toronto Streets to Homes Program Just U.S. Homeless Czar’s Mistake

Gentrification of Jarvis & Shuter

Gentrification of Jarvis & Shuter

From Street Nurse Activist Cathy Crowe Newsletter #48 Summer 2008 – by Beric German:

Philip Mangano, often referred to as Bush’s homelessness czar, promotes a “housing first” policy. The Bush administration, and the Harper government, are concentrating on “street homelessness” (those people visibly living on the street), instead of funding sustainable affordable housing programs.”

The program is really about hiding the homeless! Many of my volunteers on the Project417 sandwich runs already have heard me, and our friends on the streets, tell of the appalling condition of the housing offered to the street homeless through the Streets to Homes programs: Small, cramped rooms and tiny basement apartments, crumbling walls and ceilings, old lead paint, asbestos insulation, parasites like bed bugs and lice, broken plumbing, and little choice in the tenants with whom you have to share. I wish there were statistics on how many Streets to Homes rooms were located in known crack houses.

Streets to Homes has had some success, but it is only dumb luck and the perseverance of the homeless themselves in choosing acceptable accomodation. By far the majority of “homes” offered are sub-standard and actually lead to tenants turning to homelessness on the streets again in a short time. Their choice is really a lack of choice. Tell our governemnt, at all levels that homelessness is not to be solved by hiding the problem, but by providing safe, accessible, affordable hosuing where banyone would choose to live with pride and dignity.

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