New city statistics show that there were 187 documented deaths among homeless persons in Toronto in 2022 alone, or an average of three deaths each week.
This year’s number was lower than the 223 deaths reported in 2021, but much higher than the 128 deaths reported in 2019, according to figures released by Toronto Public Health (TPH) on Friday.
Last year, drug poisoning, which accounted for over half (47%) of all reported deaths among homeless people in the city, was the most common cause of death. 29 percent of deaths had no known cause, and cancer (10 percent) and cardiovascular disease were among the other major killers (5 per cent).
How can this be in a one of the richest countries on Earth? How can it be that so many people get left behind, forgotten, discouraged from participating in society?
Many people don’t really get what homelessness is. It involves more than just a person who is homeless or residing in a shelter for the night.
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness defines this issue as:
“The situation of an individual or family without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means, and ability to acquire it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, stressful and distressing.”
So why is our rich in monetary sense society prohibiting many people from having affordable and appropriate housing? How can it be that we have so many systematic social barriers and individual and household financial difficulties?
Those aged 25 to 49 who are experiencing homelessness make up about 52% of the population. Indigenous peoples (Métis, Inuit, and First Nations), who make up between 28 and 34% of the homeless shelter population, frequently experience homelessness. Around 18% of Canadians who are homeless are under the age of 24.
Almost 235,000 Canadians are homeless each year, with an estimated 35,000 people experiencing homelessness each day.
The main causes of homelessness in today’s society are poverty, structural issues, systemic flaws, housing, domestic violence, and individual situations and interpersonal issues.
Homelessness and poverty have a close relationship. More over 4 million Canadians are poor!
In one of the richest countries on Earth we have 4 million citizens that are poor, unable to make enough money to sustain their life! With rising cost of pretty much everything, everyone might ask them selves: How long until the middle class can no longer afford their living?
Around 14% of Canadians are estimated to have poor incomes, and income inequality is expanding. Even more people are at danger of being impoverished because they live dangerously from pay check to pay check.
Wouldn’t be nice to have more affordable housing, more affordable healthy food and social justice?
Certainly it would not hurt!
It might benefit the entire Nation.