Medical students demand the city increases supportive housing to end chronic homelessness
Toronto, Ontario: On April 8th and 9th, a group of thirty medical students from the University of Toronto are headed to Toronto’s City Hall to press municipal leaders on committing to more supportive housing units to help end chronic homelessness. The growing number of homeless in Toronto is a pressing health issue that requires adaptive and targeted solutions, and supportive housing is a solution that can assist homeless individuals who face barriers to maintaining stable housing.
9,000 Torontonians are currently homeless, and about half are chronically homeless. These individuals often have more complex health needs stemming from their precarious circumstances, like disability, substance use disorders or mental illness. Supportive housing can help address these needs by combining secure, affordable housing and tailored supports (like counselling, case management, assistance with medication). This enables a diverse range of people to live independently while accessing the health services they need.
The City of Toronto has committed to building 18,000 supportive housing units in 10 years, but it’s not currently on track to do so. Mayor Tory’s Housing Now Initiative is a step in the right direction to ensure affordable housing, but there is no mandatory commitment to supportive housing within this initiative. As part of their annual municipal lobby day, this passionate group of medical students will be going to City Hall on April 8th and 9th and asking municipal leaders to tie their commitments to action.
“As medical students, we are training to be leaders and advocates in Canadian healthcare and public life,” says Chloe Brown, one of the executive members of the Toronto Political Advocacy Committee. “That’s why we’re engaging the city and its leaders to act on their commitments to supportive housing and bring about sustainable change. We want to be able to send future patients into living conditions that promote good health.”
These medical students are a part of a group called the Toronto Political Advocacy Committee which advocates for the attainment of the highest standards of physical and mental wellbeing for the city of Toronto’s homeless community. They work closely with community partners and those with lived experience to ensure their advocacy is community informed and supported.
About Toronto Political Advocacy Committee
The Toronto Political Advocacy Committee (TPAC) is led by a group of University of Toronto medical students passionate about making a difference in their city. We advocate for evidence-based solutions to healthcare injustices in the City of Toronto by training medical students on how to conduct advocacy, as well as performing that advocacy on a longitudinal basis with community partners. We strive for a Toronto where everyone has equitable access to healthcare, and we hope to train future physicians to become long-term advocates for these causes
We will be available before April8/9 by email and phone and at City Hall on April 8/9 with medical students to talk to press