Toronto has a shortage of affordable housing. Many individuals experiencing homelessness rely on temporary shelters, emergency services or a friend’s hospitality. Others live “rough” in the city’s parks, ravines, and alleys. Finding a safe, affordable place to live can be difficult. Homes First is here to help.
Statistics on Homelessness
Nicole never thought she would live in a shelter. Though she was luckier than most, having only spent a few months in the shelter system before securing a supportive housing unit with Homes First at 90 Shuter St., Nicole still faced a debilitating systemic barrier: food insecurity.
According to the City of Toronto, 1 in 5 households experience some sort of barrier to regular access of nutritious food. In Nicole’s case, she had several complex health challenges that made holding a job difficult, especially without often-over-stretched social supports. Among low-income and homeless Torontonians, food insecurity often presents as an emergency; far too many live with the constant fear of running out of food, choosing less healthy and/or inexpensive foods, or completely skipping meals just to get by.
“That was eye opening,” she says.
Nicole’s story demonstrates the health and socio-economic benefits of stable and consistent access to food; eradicating chronic homelessness in the City of Toronto begins with someone’s sense of self-worth and wellbeing, both of which are improved by Homes First’s resident meal programs.
Many of our residents can share a similar experience to that of Nicole’s; to eradicate hunger amongst our residents, Homes First has developed a robust internal strategy. In early 2022, Homes First will be launching the first stage of our Centralized Food Program (CFP) from an interim kitchen, while construction begins on a commercial kitchen at our Sheila Miller supportive housing site, which will serve our entire agency. In addition to the provision of existing community meals at housing and shelter sites, the CFP will produce individualized, frozen-ready meals for our most vulnerable residents.
This past summer, Nicole moved out of 90 Shuter after living there for six years. When asked what she will the most, she says the people she’s met, staff and roommates here that made her experience a good one.
“I want to tell them all thank you for their support and for helping me out. I will miss you guys.”
Below are some significant resources and articles in the housing and homeless sector we'd like to share.