by: Greg Cook
I love my home. I think it is great that I have a quiet space where I can leisurely drink some coffee each morning. A warm space where I can have intimate conversations with my family and periodically invite close friends over for a meal. A place where I can lock the door if I need to and know that it’s OK to just be myself.
Many people who are part of our community at Sanctuary don’t have a house or apartment. They don’t have four walls and a locked door to make them feel safe and at home each evening. Because rental rates keep going up, and incomes are stagnating, even basic housing is out of reach for more and more people in our community and in our city. Not having a home, even for a short time, is a crisis for anyone. It means stress, lack of stability, and health complications. In 2017 the City of Toronto tracked homeless deaths for the first time
and found that 100 people died without housing in 2017, and that over half of those people were under 48 years old.
The housing crisis in our city has also caused a shelter crisis. Toronto shelters, especially those for women, are over capacity every night.
At Sanctuary, we work hard to ensure that each person has a house. We operate two houses in East York that offer a home for eight people in our community. Our outreach team and other sta walk alongside and advocate for people in our community who are trying to secure housing that they can afford. Unfortunately, this is more difficult each year as rent rates escalate. We also regularly communicate with the municipal, provincial and federal governments about the need for policy changes to be made so that everyone can afford decent housing. This past winter we worked with other agencies and concerned citizens to push the city government to open 700 extra shelter spaces so that people could sleep inside and out of the cold. We continue to insist that these spaces stay open and that they are more dignified. Ultimately we want everyone in our community and in our city to have a house. Please take these strides with us as we work together so that each person is able to have a home they love.