Why care?

What’s in it for me to help the homeless?  Why should I take action to improve affordability?

1.  It is the right thing to do

2.  Affordable housing is good for business

  • attracts employers:  Employers look for cities that offer a good mix of housing for employees with varying income levels.
  • house essential service workers:  Lower income earners work in industries important to Toronto eg, tourism, hospitality, retail.
  • keeps labour costs low:  As housing costs rise, so must wages.  To stay competitive, Toronto must keep wage bills reasonable.
  • healthy and productive employees:  Companies lose productivity when their employees must commute long distances or are worried about living costs.
  • partial solution to Toronto traffic problems:  Affordable housing downtown reduces traffic congestion.

3.  Helping is cheaper than not helping

Reduced government costs:  

Why spend money on temporary shelters, when creating permanent housing is cheaper?  It may seem counter intuitive.  Permanent housing sounds more expensive.  But the evidence from research says that not only do we save money, we also achieve better social outcomes.

Compare the costs:  (Brian source The real cost of homelessness)

  • $200/month for social housing
  • $700/month for rent supplements

vs

  • $1,900/month for a cot in a public shelter,
  • $4,300/month for a bed in a jail cell
  • $10,900/month for a bed in a hospital.

Reduced health care costs:

When a person is left to scavenge for survival, basic health care needs are neglected. Homeless are admitted to hospitals five times more than the general population and stay longer. Faced with struggling to survive, 50% of homeless people are unable to take (or afford) the proper medications as prescribed by doctors. Common injuries are left to fester and those in crowded shelters are exposed to TB and influenza.  (Brian source Charity intelligence)

Further reading:

Charity Intelligence, Homeless in Canada, 2009

“Finding Room”  David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, 2004

The Real Cost of Homelessness, Steven Gaetz, 2012

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