ParkTales on social housing needs

Alarm sounds on homeless deaths
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

01 March 2013 — This issue I would like to focus on the homeless and the critical situation that exists not only in Toronto but across the country.

In Toronto, Councillor Adam Vaughan put a motion before Toronto City Council on February 20 for more shelter beds for the homeless and at a time of extreme weather warnings.

A friend of mine, Catherine Holliday (pictured at upper right corner of sign in the photograph below), sent a letter to our Parkdale Councillor, Gordon Perks, asking him to support the motion. Which he did.

Cathy's letter is so revealing of the terrible conditions that exist in Toronto that I would like you to read it.

It is unbelievable that City Council as a whole did not support the motion.

Dear Councillor Perks

Please support Councillor Vaughan's motion re shelter beds for the homeless in Toronto on Wed February 20th. It is unbelievable that Toronto Council is doing nothing about  the horrendous fact that 6 people have died in the first 6 weeks of 2013 and that 34  known deaths occurred in 2012. I wholeheartedly support OCAP's, (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) protest on February 15th and their demands.

This situation is of course the result of cutbacks in social services under the Ford administration and the irresponsible McGuinty government at Queen's Park.

The people of Toronto need social housing projects to be undertaken. As an emergency measure we need the shelter system to be expanded and upgraded.

Many people on the streets refuse to expose themselves to the hazards of the inadequate shelter conditions which are plagued with grossly inadequate sleeping facilities with overcrowding, with the inevitable resulting noise and mayhem, bedbugs and other parasites and health hazards. No human being should be subjected to this complete abandonment.

Thanks for your urgent attention to this,

Yours truly

Catherine Holliday

Please note, that since the above letter was sent the total of homeless dead has now risen to eight from six.

My Parkdale