Fwd: Cruel Harris abandons homeless, again!

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 22:20:02 -0400

----------forwarded message----------
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 21:46:59 -0400
From: Cathy Crowe <crowe@web.net>
Subject: Cruel Harris abandons homeless, again!

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
For immediate release               						
October 21, 1999

Cruel Harris abandons homeless, again!

"It is incredibly cruel," says Michael Shapcott of the Toronto Disaster
Relief Committee (TDRC).  "For the past four years, the Harris government's
policies have generated more homelessness and more poverty. Today's Throne
Speech only delivers more hardship for people who are poor and homeless."

In the last four years, the provincial government has cut welfare,
cancelled housing and gutted tenant protection laws - literally forcing
people to beg on the streets. Now, according to today's Throne Speech, they
plan to make begging illegal. "This is shameful, irrational and down-right
bad policy," adds Kira Heineck, Co-ordinator of the TDRC. "The Harris
government is punishing poor people and abandoning homeless people."

This desperate situation can only get worse. There are 300,000 tenant
households in Ontario on the brink of homelessness. The combination of
rising rents, dropping incomes, increased need for affordable housing and
dwindling supply will only lead to more homelessness. Homelessness has
reached "unprecedented levels" in Toronto, according to research by Dr.
Anne Golden of the Mayor's Homelessness Action Task Force. Barrie has seen
an increase of more than 1,200% in use of hostel beds in recent years. Over
the course of a year, there are about 1,000 homeless children in Ottawa.
Other Ontario communities also report increased homelessness.

The Harris government is dead wrong in suggesting that homelessness is
"complex". The solution is simple: build more housing, now! Homeless people
need homes. Providing enough affordable and appropriate housing is the
single most important thing that can be done to end homelessness and ease
the housing crisis.

The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee is calling on all levels of
government to adopt the One Percent Solution - a national strategy to
double the amount of money spent on housing. "The province has a
responsibility to take action against homelessness," says Heineck. "Instead
of action and real funding, the Harris government has offered a bland
promise to work with other levels of government. This is not enough.
Premier Mike Harris had a great opportunity today to take a lead in ending
homelessness. Instead he took another opportunity to abandon the homeless."

For comment/information: 	
Kira Heineck -	416-703-8482, x411
Michael Shapcott - 416-366-1711, x224

Housing Now!

Cathy Crowe, RN
416-703-8482 (117)
416-703-6190 (fax)