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Bishop speaks to housing emergency in Ontario

Bishop Andrew Asbil will hold a press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 11:30 a.m., at the encampment outside the Church of the Holy Trinity, Trinity Square, Toronto, to demand immediate action on housing from the provincial and municipal governments as the COVID-19 crisis continues. The conference will be livestreamed here.

Nov. 22 is the National Day for Housing, and the Diocese of Toronto is launching a “Housing Matters” campaign to prevent and address homelessness in the face of a COVID-19 winter. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and winter approaches, it is more important than ever for us to act and advocate for the safety and health of homeless and precariously housed Ontarians.

The campaign asks for the following:

  • The Government of Ontario should immediately restore the moratorium on residential evictions which was in place between March and July 2020.
  • Municipal governments should immediately and formally institute a moratorium on the clearing of encampments, which appear, from testing results, to be a healthier and safer option than congregate living settings. Instead, municipal governments should actively provide survival supplies, including tents and sleeping bags, to encampment residents, and assist with fire safety measures and other health issues.
  • Provincial and municipal levels of government should cooperate to provide a range of flexible and rapid housing options which do not require people to move into congregate settings. This may include modular housing, “tiny house” units, and adaptations to the shelter-hotel program.

Anglican parishes around the Diocese will be encouraged to write letters to their government officials putting forward these demands. At the same time, Anglicans are also being encouraged to increase their contributions to the diocesan FaithWorks partner ministries, which help to meet the needs of thousands of individuals, including those in housing need, across the Diocese.

For more information, contact Elin Goulden, Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant,