TSN Press Release Regarding the Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN) declaring Toronto a homeless disaster

December 18, 2018

Dear TSN Network, members and friends,

In the wake of the formation of the Shelter and Housing Justice Network (SHJN), the Toronto Shelter Network (TSN) supports a call to action in order to address the crisis of homelessness in our city.  Homelessness is an urgent yet complex issue in Toronto.  The lack of affordable housing, growing income disparity, the racialization of poverty, the prevalence of mental health and substance use, including the opioid crisis, global destabilization leading to a significant influx of refugees these past three years are just some of the factors that have combined to strain the shelter system beyond capacity.  The Toronto Shelter Network calls on all levels of government to work together with non-profit partners towards the development of affordable housing, innovative and appropriate social housing models and an appropriately resourced shelter system.

The TSN has been actively working with the City of Toronto to implement its plan of adding an additional 1000 shelter beds to the system during this coming year.  We will continue with these efforts, and top of mind is ensuring that all staff and clients are working and living in safe and supportive environments. We must continue to work toward creating a cohesive community of care, built on effective staffing models, in order to provide people experiencing homelessness with the highest quality of services and supports.  

We recognize that the shelter system is stretched beyond its limits and we wish to acknowledge all those working in the shelter sector for their commitment and hard work in supporting the most vulnerable of our community.

TSN Statement Regarding Ontario Government’s Announcement to Withdraw from Intergovernmental Involvement with Refugee Claimants

July 20, 2018

Dear TSN Network, members and friends:

The Toronto Shelter Network shares the concerns expressed by the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) regarding the Ontario Government’s decision to withdraw support from intergovernmental collaboration on refugee resettlement.

 All of Toronto’s emergency shelter providers have been working diligently to accommodate the influx of refugees to the City of Toronto these past two years, including many families with young children.  We are discouraged that the Ontario Government has announced this shift in policy. Ontario is the largest province in Canada, with an economic and social fabric that is greatly enriched by the contribution of migrants, including asylum seekers.  Ontario has played a strong role with respect to Canada’s international humanitarian commitments and in providing a welcoming and caring environment for refugees.

Refugees currently make up 45% of the shelter system. However, the shelter system has been at capacity for many years and has been supporting communities across Toronto who experience housing challenges long before the surge in refugees.As such we call for leadership from all three levels of government to work together on prevention measures needed to divert people and more immediately, refugees from homelessness.