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We read with deep disappointment The Star’s article “Poor go to the back of the line for housing” (Sept. 28). This article pits two vulnerable groups against each other while we should be working on solutions to provide affordable housing options for both.
Putting aside the writer’s implication that abuse survivors are not also living in poverty, the article ignores the fact that priority housing is necessary for emergency shelters to be able to accept new residents. Most shelters for abused women are designed for short-term stays, and without faster access to affordable housing, we are forced to turn away women and children who are in real danger.
This puts lives at risk.
In recent years priority housing has been opened up to all victims of violence, not just violence against women survivors. Because of this, wait times have increased steadily with some clients waiting well over a year for housing. Shelters simply cannot fulfill their missions when women are forced to wait this long to move out.
At Interval House we are doing what we can to help by partnering with non-profits and the private sector to provide rent-geared-to-income units and subsidies that allow women to rent in the private market. With employment supports and ongoing case management, these women are well on their way to independence.
There is no question that we need better affordable housing options in the GTA, but we can’t find meaningful solutions if we’re not working together.