Monday, 18 March 2013

Why is Toronto Wasting Money On the Homeless?

When you arrive to Toronto for the first time you'll notice something you probably didn't see in the travel brochures. As soon as you leave a subway station downtown you will hear the shouting of the homeless and be accosted constantly for change from drug addicts, junkies, bums, and a plethora of other street urchins. 

To see the contradiction of the reality of a crumbling city vs. the fantasy you see advertised will leave you feeling disgusted. 

The city has become a dump with rampant homelessness. Nobody in office is thinking about or addressing any of these issues.

Toronto is spending $1932 a month per homeless person it supports according to The Star based on research conducted by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. Yes, you read correctly: $1932 to keep somebody in a bed in a shelter!

The same study found that it only costs $701 or less per month to provide rent for a homeless person for a month. Alternatively, providing them with social housing would only cost them $199.92 per month, per homeless person.

So while City Hall is promising to make the economy better and make budget cuts to Torontonians why they don’t they house the people who are homeless. It's a question, one question that nobody wants to discuss. It is simple solution that would save the city and it's taxpayers money while cleaning up the filthy streets of Toronto simultaneously.

Now, if you are a reasonable person you would be asking if housing the homeless would actually clean the streets.

If the city built more social housing on the fringes of Toronto and crammed all the homeless in there the majority of the downtown core would change overnight. The streets would actually be enjoyable to walk around and more people would go out which would lead to more money being spent. Economy wins.

This probably isn't the correct answer as North America has already locked itself into a perpetual welfare state in it's terminal decline into triviality but if Mayor Giuliani can make the homeless disappear from New York, then maybe that greasy slime ball we have in office, the Honorable Rob Ford should be able to do something other than ignore the problem.


  1. The thing that struck me most when I started working downtown was homeless people sleeping in the street. I used to live in North York and barely ever went downtown growing up so it was a shock to see it.
    Over the years I got so used to it I don't even think I noticed half the time. I can't say it got better or worse, it just is and nobody's trying to 'clean it up'...the thing is, you can't clean up something that the system is actually breeding (a much longer separate discussion tho).
    One other note I'd like to make is that there are poor people and homeless everywhere in the world, but what differentiates the ones from North America, and other Western countries, and those from the rest of the world is that poverty elsewhere doesn't necessarily equal mental illness and drug addiction, but in Toronto it's pretty striking how every homeless person is either a drug addict or somehow mentally ill.

    1. Matt you are so right. The system here encourages this behavior. Overseas I see beggars who are just people living in poverty and asking for money. Many of them have places to live, family, and support networks. Some of them have drug and alcohol problems but nothing like what you see here. In Toronto you get approached by people who are on drugs or looking to buy their next hit with your hard earned cash.

  2. Building housing at the fringes of Toronto might be good, but it's basically 'out of sight, out of mind' thinking, and it's discriminatory zero-sum behavior; the poor have as much right to be in downtown Toronto as anybody else.

    Maybe instead of building all of these super-big condos that are small as fuck and that are only affordable for the rich, the city and province should be building housing for everybody (RGI) so that all Torontonians can be housed.

    1. It's discrimination but it's for the better good. And it's not out of sight, out of mind. It's out of sight, in mind. I'd rather know the homeless are being housed and taken care of rather than see them everyday and know no one is looking out for them.

      As far as I'm aware the condos you are speaking of are built and owned by private corporations, not the city or government.

      Sounds to me like you might be a little bit of a communist my comrade, your Mao is showing...