High rents lead to increased detention on hospitals and jails.

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shartal@rogers.com
High rents lead to increased detention on hospitals and jails.

We all know that rents in Toronto have soared.The average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $2,000. This is hard for middle class employed people. However for very poor people, particularly people with disabilities who cannot work, the situation is misery and despair.

As a result the shelters are totally full. Seaton house has put in cots. TCHC has a 14 year wait list. Because no one on ODSP (Provincial disability benefit program)  can rent anything in Toronto people who are in shelters cannot move anywhere. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people sleeping rough.

Among my clients who are warehoused in the shelters or sleeping outside hopelessness has become a way of live. Part of this life is that their drug and alcohol use increases dramatically. It becomes part until distruction.

There are legal spill overs.

1) Pretrial detention increases because with no beds there are no addresses. Without an address there is no bail. Sending people to central intake on Peter street is a fiction.

While sleeping on the streets, many with increased drug and alcohol, they are more visible to police and they get into more fights. Than they are rearrested and back in jail. It also increases the likelihood of overdoses.

2) Camh is not releasing people unless there is housing because without housing people stop taking medication and their behaviour deteriorates. Then the are picked up by the police and brought back to the hospitals. This was confirmed by doctors at Camh.

3) In addition even detox centres have waitlists.

The answer in not "build more affordable housing". The answer is increase the rent money, and specifically the "shelter allowance" from ODSP. ODSP is made up of two payments on is for shelter the other , the "basis" is for food etc. When Harris enacted ODSP the shelter allowance was $450 but a basement apartment was $500. Today the shelter allowance is $489 but the median basement apartment is $1000 +.It is not possible to rent a room in shared accomodation for $489. Thus people use food money for rent and are on crisis from eviction.

The only practical policy option is raise the shelter allowance.

 

 

NDPP

Thanks for the update Shartal. Barbaric conditions. Should be completely unacceptable, especially by a citizenry with such pretensions about what a 'nice' country they live in.

oldgoat

Our citizenry is little but pretentious.  Just about all of my clients are on ODSP, and most get by because of some sort of subsidized housing.  As a community mental health agency every now and then some sort of limited subsidy programme pops up, and some of them aren't too bad, but of course they go pretty fast.

The moral dimention aside, there's a very solid business case for making decent housing available to all, which should apeal to conservatives.  The ED of my agency has irrifutable figures that for every dollar spent on proper housing the return on costs saved in services referred to by Shartel is in the nieghbourhood of 1.50

Unionist

Thanks, Shartal and oldgoat. The MSM and the political class don't deem these disastrous situations worthy of mention. Please keep updating us.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The only practical policy option is raise the shelter allowance.

If the well-off need further convincing, we could coin the term "trickle-UP economics".  Kind of like "trickle-down", except the other way 'round.  The landlords will end up getting the money anyway, right?  At least this time it would actually work.

RandomRogue

I think while, well-intentioned , raising the allotment for housing won't be the cure-all expected. 
If, at present, all vacancies are full, then increasing the ability of those on social assistance to pay, will only work, if it makes them more competitive than others. This means that those on social assistance would only find housing if it pushes someone else out. 

Ultimately, it will make rents more expensive, and some other low-income people will not find housing. 
While, raising rent money, may be necessary anyways - it will not fix the problem on its own. 

Instead, tighter rent controls, regulations for low-income properties in all new developments, restrictions on Air BnB type operations, a tax on unoccupied homes, and a massive construction of low-income government run housing are all need to combat the problem. 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Nov 22: Join the National Housing Day of Action

There is a severe shortage of social housing in Canada, a direct result of the federal government’s failure to fund new housing projects over the last 24 years, and its gradual strangling of funding to maintain the existing housing stock. The situation has reached a point where buildings are literally crumbling for the want of repairs and thousands of units are being boarded up. Vacancy rates are at zero and wait-lists in major urban centres have grown so large that many people have to wait for over a decade for a unit to become available.

quote:

We demand that the Trudeau Liberals:

  • Spend 100% of the $11.2 billion announced in the March 2017 budget within the next two years to respond to the crisis of social housing plaguing the country.
  • Renew federal subsidies to low-income tenants in existing social housing (co-op, nonprofit and public).
  • Build new social housing units with rent-geared-to income subsidies that are affordable to people living on social assistance and old age pension.
  • Eliminate homelessness and prioritize needs of those in precarious housing situations, especially marginalized groups including on and off-reserve Indigenous communities, recent immigrants, racialized communities, lone parent families and single seniors, women fleeing violence, disabled people, youth, people on social assistance, and the working poor.

Join us!

An invitation from:
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)Ontario
Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU)Quebec
Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP)British Columbia

NDPP

Toronto: National Housing Day of Action

http://ocap.ca/toronto-national-housing-day-of-action/

"Rally and march, part of nation-wide actions demanding public housing, Wednesday, November 22, 12 noon, Allan Gardens (Sherbourne/Carlton). Simultaneous actions: Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Vancouver and others... Part of the National Housing Day of Action, See FB & Website.

NDPP

Toronto: National Housing Day of Action *November 22*

http://ocap.ca/toronto-national-housing-day-of-action/

"Rally and march, part of nation-wide actions demanding public housing, Wednesday, November 22, 12 noon, Allan Gardens (Sherbourne/Carlton). Simultaneous actions: Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Vancouver and others... Part of the National Housing Day of Action, See FB & Website."