I would like to respond to an editorial that calls on the federal government to lead the implementation of a national homelessness strategy (Homelessness Needs Federal Strategy, The Daily News, Oct. 1).
Although I appreciate the KDN editorial staff’s decision to highlight the very real problem of homelessness in Canada, I do not agree that a “national homelessness strategy” is the answer to the continued challenge presented by homelessness. Indeed, upon reading the study by Prof. Stephen Gaetz that was repeatedly referenced in the editorial, I find no explicit call in his study for such a strategy.
Gaetz’s study does call for greater focus on homelessness prevention, namely by increasing social housing, access to supports and through greater collaboration between government, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector.
This, he argues, would lead to lessening the reliance of the homeless on social and medical services, and also indirectly lessen the impact of homelessness on the judiciary, law-enforcement and corrections services.
I would argue that the federal government has already made a substantial effort to implement exactly the kind of changes Gaetz calls for in his study, and we will continue to do so.
This includes financial support for social housing and homelessness-related support programs across Canada and right here in our community.
Most of this support has come via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). We have also provided funding to provincial programs.
For our part, the federal government will continue to support local, grassroots organizations that have the firsthand knowledge and experience needed to make a difference in our community.