Homelessness count the latest anti-poverty program to get Ford’s axe
TORONTO — With temperatures plunging, the Official Opposition New Democrats’ Poverty and Homelessness critic, Rima Berns-McGown, is slamming Doug Ford’s latest cut to anti-poverty efforts — a census of those living on the streets.
“Doug Ford’s cancellation of the program to measure homelessness is an excuse to stop doing any work at all on the issue of homelessness and poverty,” said Berns-McGown. “Ford wants to hide the facts, because he knows they’re only getting worse as a result of his callous cuts.”
Since take office, Doug Ford has: ·
- Cut the Ending Homelessness Program by 25 per cent·
- Eliminated the Housing and Homelessness Program completely·
- Frozen funding for the Homelessness Prevention Program, the main source of funding for municipal homelessness programs·
- Cut $161 million from Ontario’s Affordable Housing Program·
- Eliminated the Basic Income pilot program, which was showing promise·
- Cut in half the scheduled increases to OW and ODSP
Under the Liberals, homelessness doubled in Ontario between 2013 and 2018, from roughly 4000 to over 9000.
“The Liberals left every shelter busting at the seams. The number of people forced to risk their lives every night by sleeping on the streets has been growing,” said Berns-McGown. “But Doug Ford’s cruel and callous cuts will make sure things go from bad to worse. Fewer emergency services, fewer programs and opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty — and, now, a government that turns its back by cancelling the homelessness count, so that it doesn’t have to see how much worse things are getting.
Poverty already costs the province between $27 billion and $33 billion per year in lost productivity, health care costs, and criminal justice costs – which means cuts could cost a lot more than they save. The names of eight more people, all of whom died in the past month, were added Wednesday to the Toronto Homeless Memorial.