Government Still Can’t Figure Out Homelessness
|January 7, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Years Go By, and Still They Don’t See the Answer
National Homeless Strategy Sought
In Toronto alone, up to 500 people may be sleeping outdoors
by William Walker OTTAWA – The federal government is planning a national conference on homelessness to help Canadian cities develop strategies for this winter.
Toronto Liberal MP Charles Caccia (Davenport) raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday, noting that as winter sets in the issue of homelessness becomes “more serious and urgent” in cities.
In Toronto alone, officials say up to 500 people may be sleeping outdoors each night since the city’s existing 4,200 hostel beds are full. They say more than 400 new hostel beds are required this winter.
Minister of Public Works Alfonso Gagliano, who is responsible for housing, said the government is concerned and wants to see a national strategy set out to fight the problem.
He said the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, in concert with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is planning a series of regional conferences on the problem that will lead to a national meeting.
Gagliano said the CMHC will provide the necessary funding to ensure the meetings go ahead to allow city officials to discuss potential strategies.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien has yet to respond to Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman’s formal written request for a meeting on the issue.
Lastman also asked Chretien to join him in Toronto for a tour of parts of the city where the homeless reside.
Toronto City Council recently passed a resolution declaring homelessness “a national disaster.”
This story was released by Grassroots News Network, http://www.onr.com/user/gnn
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