Homelessness is at crisis levels across Ontario and requires a coordinated action plan by the province. At the March 9th meeting of Peel Regional Council, Brampton Regional Councillor Paul Vicente tabled a motion calling on the province to urgently commit to ending homelessness in Ontario.
Councillor Vicente serves as Vice-Chair of Human Services for Peel Region and is a representative for Peel Region at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). AMO is asking all municipalities to push the province to recognize the need for adequate funding and resources for programs and shelter services.
The motion, seconded by Mississauga Councillor Martin Reid, passed unanimously and outlined a framework to address the devastating toll that homelessness is taking on families and communities in Peel. The motion called homelessness a social, economic, and healthcare crisis which requires a coordinated action plan.
“We know that housing affordability has become a problem,” said Vicente. “The most vulnerable in our community have no options available to them and they find themselves on our streets and in tent communities. In a country like Canada, this is unacceptable because we do have compassion, and the resources must be allocated to lift those who need it most.”
According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), on average in 2018, 16,000 Ontarians were unhoused and living on the street each night. The FAO has also outlined that the province is unable to reach the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Ontario by 2025 due to a lack of policy measures or action plans. The province has reduced its spending on homelessness initiatives and programs by 4.6 per cent since 2020.
Peel Region Chair Nando Iannicca praised the focus of the motion and the need to push limited financial resources to those persons who are in greatest need.
“Let’s help those who really need our help.” said Iannicca. “The people who need subsidy, the woman trying to leave an abusive relationship, the person who has injured their back and is trying to get back to work; that is our only domain because the dollars just don’t work otherwise.”
The resolution calls on the province to work with organizations such as AMO and community partners to develop and bring forth a collaborative action plan to commit to ending the homelessness crisis in Ontario.
AMO is working with municipalities across the province to address the housing crisis that they say the province has brought upon itself through underinvestment and indifference of successive provincial governments in areas such as income assistance, affordable housing, and mental health.