Who Are We and What Do We Do?

The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) is a group of social policy, health care and housing experts, academics, business people, community health workers, social workers, AIDS activists, anti-poverty activists, people with homelessness experience, and members of the faith community. We provide advocacy on housing and homelessness issues.  We declare homelessness as a national disaster, and demand that Canada end homelessness by implementing a fully-funded National Housing Program through the One Percent Solution.

In the effort to end homelessness, we are active on numerous fronts. We provide coordination services for the National Housing and Homelessness Network. We are a prominent and highly recognized voice on the City of Toronto’s Advisory Committee for Homeless and Socially Isolated Persons.  We work closely with former residents of Tent City, and supported residents in their effort to relocate into housing on non-polluted lands. We research the issues and have produced numerous reports with our findings.  We track the numbers of those who die on our city streets.  We watch the homeless disaster worsen daily.

We Declare Homelessness a National Disaster

We have asked ourselves these questions: why is this human crisis not treated in the same way as other crises or disasters where people lose their housing and have their family and community networks disrupted, like the ice storm in Quebec and Eastern Ontario, or like the floods in Manitoba? Why are governments not responding to the physical and mental harm, including death, caused by being homeless?  Why are they ignoring the spread of disease such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis? Why is it that our public officials fail to recognize that tens of thousands of people without housing and without adequate food and health care constitutes one of the largest and most serious national disasters that Canada has ever faced? We call on all levels of government to recognize Homelessness as a National Disaster and to respond with immediate short and long term humanitarian relief.

 

We Believe Homelessness is a Serious Human Rights Violation

The moral and ethical codes of the World’s religions, international law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and federal and provincial human rights legislation, oblige Canadians and Canadian governments to refrain from acts, omissions, or other measures that result in violations of human rights.  The very existence of people who do not have any housing is by itself a most serious human rights violation. The most basic human rights of a section of our community are being violated.

We Propose Simple Solutions

We believe the single most important thing needed to end homelessness in Canada is to implement a fully-funded National Housing Program.  We propose the One Percent Solution to fund such a program. We ask that all levels of government spend 1% of their overall budgets on housing. The One Percent Solution would result in $2 billion in new funding for social housing annually by the federal government, and $2 billion in new funding for social housing annually shared among the provincial and territorial governments.

TDRC Steering Committee Members:

Jon Alexander IT Consultant - Fields Institute, and community activist
John Andras Co-founder of Project Warmth, Vice-president Research Capital Corp
Bonnie Briggs Housing and Poverty Activist
Cathy Crowe Street Nurse, Atkinson Foundation Fellowship Award Winner
Dri Former Tent City resident
Beric German Housing advocate
Sherrie Golden Artist and social justice activist
Tanya Gulliver Ryerson Instructor and Consultant with Toronto Neighbourhood Centres
David Hulchanski Professor, University of Toronto
Jim McDowell C. A. W. social activist
Bob Rose Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre
Peter Rosenthal Lawyer and University of Toronto Professor
Frank Showler Member of Board of St. Clare's Multifaith Housing

 

Ex-Officio and Honourary Members:

Rev. Don (Dan) Heap (Anglican) Former MP, Trinity-Spadina, Former Toronto City Councillor
Michael Shapcott National Housing and Homelessness Network co-chair
David Walsh President, Realco Property Ltd.