(Originally published December 4)
TORONTO — NDP MPPs Jill Andrew (Toronto-St. Paul’s), Jessica Bell (University-Rosedale), Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches-East York), Chris Glover (Spadina—Fort York), Faisal Hassan (York South-Weston), Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale-High Park), Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre), Marit Stiles (Davenport), Tom Rakocevic (Humber River—Black Creek) and Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) released this statement regarding the clearing of encampments from Toronto parks:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Toronto’s housing and homelessness crisis. Many people who experience homelessness are Black, Indigenous, and racialized people—the same communities most impacted by COVID-19. As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Toronto continues to surge, emergency shelters are operating at capacity, and respite and drop-in centres are stretched thin.
Instead of supporting people, the Ford government has refused to increase resources to save lives. Doug Ford cancelled the moratorium on evictions, passed a law that makes it easier for landlords to kick tenants out of their homes, and stood by his government’s cuts to mental health and harm reduction services. As the pandemic has continued Toronto’s homelessness emergency has worsened, causing the network of folks living in encampments to grow.
Winter is coming, and people have nowhere to go.
We are calling on Ford to ensure people in Toronto’s encampments can access permanent housing, and to prevent more people from becoming unhoused. This includes a moratorium on evictions, funding new rent-geared-to-income rental units, providing immediate shelter and hotel spaces, and investing in wrap-around overdose prevention, mental health and harm-reduction services."