Fighting Homelessness in Willowdale

For several months, a woman has been living in a bus shelter at Doris and Sheppard. Many people walked by her every day. Some contacted our office because they wanted her gone, a larger number because they wanted us to find help for her.

We don’t know her name and we don’t know her story. Fortunately, we do know that she now has a place to live.

Thanks to the diligent work of one worker on the City’s Streets to Homes team, who not only navigated many partners and organizations but also built up a level of trust with the person in need, this woman now has a long term accommodation – not just a place to lay her head for a few nights.

The story is similar for the more than 1,100 people that City staff have helped to move inside from encampments since the pandemic began. So far in 2020, the City has also referred more than 2,500 people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing through a combination of housing allowances and rent-geared-to-income units, representing a 50 per cent increase over the same period last year.

As much as we are fighting the symptoms of the problem right now, curing the disease and eliminating homelessness, ultimately, requires housing. That’s why over the next 24 months, the City is using the new Federal Rapid Housing Initiative to create 3,000 new units of housing.

In the meantime, we may continue to see people in need living outside. Please remember that you can contact 311 or our office so Street to Homes staff may try to help find shelter.  If you think the person needs medical attention please call 911.