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How to solve homeless issue?

Now we got to deal with thousands of homeless migrants. Many of them will end up in Toronto. Quebec is sending bus loads of them to Ontario. Where exactly are we going to house them????

Migrant encampments will pop like you see in NYC. What mess NYC is in. Too many asylum seekers not enough housing.

Niagara Falls mayor want's them out of the hotels before tourist season starts.


Only solution here is to build housing, lots of it, and fast.

If this is shocking to you that we will have to deal with thousands of homeless migrants now, just wait. This will become an ever increasing thing as the climate changes, and as countries are economically devastated by the West's need for continuous growth.

We need to be able to handle the influx of people with dignity and care. We have lots of room, we are an extremely rich country, let's put our resources to good use.
 
They don't have the dismissive attitude to the positive role government intervention can play in society that the NA right has, and they don't have the complacent attitude that NA left has toward effectiveness and efficiency of government.
They also pay about 10% more re their annual tax ’wedge’ (tax on labour income) than Canada. Depending on variables (married or not, kids etc) the wedge is about 38% for a family and 42% for a single in Finland. In Canada, about 20 and 32 respectively ( OECD reports). This is not the sole reason for the ’homeless’ difference, but the additional revenue helps to fund government strategies to combat the homeless challenge. Finland is a lovely country, although awfully %!!!% cold in the winter, and without the issues ( at least to my eyes) of homeless people you see in Toronto. Although no one is claiming that Finland is without societal challenges, just based on elevated tax rates.

And this is a conversation we should be having. I was working with someone to help them apply for the federal tax grant of a one time payment of $500 recently and thinking that this is the best we can do? The need for tax reform in this country is absolute, the need to reject US style Republican tax reform is absolute, we, as a country, need to forge our own path, fund that path, and if it means that everyone in this country, above a mean level of the living wage, pays a flat, no deductions applied, minimum tax amount, then so be it. There is wealth in this country, not all in Galen's account, and as most of the living generations, including the youngest, seem to be freely allowing their governments to borrow against the future, it would be a tremendous step forward if we began to see a shift away from some of the present fiscal and tax policies.
 
They also pay about 10% more re their annual tax ’wedge’ (tax on labour income) than Canada. Depending on variables (married or not, kids etc) the wedge is about 38% for a family and 42% for a single in Finland. In Canada, about 20 and 32 respectively ( OECD reports). This is not the sole reason for the ’homeless’ difference, but the additional revenue helps to fund government strategies to combat the homeless challenge. Finland is a lovely country, although awfully %!!!% cold in the winter, and without the issues ( at least to my eyes) of homeless people you see in Toronto. Although no one is claiming that Finland is without societal challenges, just based on elevated tax rates.

And this is a conversation we should be having. I was working with someone to help them apply for the federal tax grant of a one time payment of $500 recently and thinking that this is the best we can do? The need for tax reform in this country is absolute, the need to reject US style Republican tax reform is absolute, we, as a country, need to forge our own path, fund that path, and if it means that everyone in this country, above a mean level of the living wage, pays a flat, no deductions applied, minimum tax amount, then so be it. There is wealth in this country, not all in Galen's account, and as most of the living generations, including the youngest, seem to be freely allowing their governments to borrow against the future, it would be a tremendous step forward if we began to see a shift away from some of the present fiscal and tax policies.

I concur.

I don't favour a flat-tax in terms of rate-structure, I like progressive rates; but I do favour deduction free, we don't care how you earn your money or how you spend it, you owe the state 'x' percent of your haul.

In my ideal version of income tax we would actually hike the base rate considerable (currently 15+5, federal and provincial); but vastly up the tax-free amount to reflect not deducting from people who can't afford to lose the money, and replacing the value of certain low-income credits, which I would eliminate in the above structure.

(don't hold me to the numbers as I haven't updated my math recently on these); but I'm thinking something like $40,000 tax-free income for everyone. But then entry-level brackets of 22+8 (30%), with no deductions.

I wouldn't actually bump the high rates much at all which are nominally up near 50%, and would probably actually bump up the income at which they kick-in; as if you remove all the deductions the absolute amount paid will skyrocket.

***

To me, the advantages are obvious:

1) You don't have to wait up to 12 months to submit a tax return to get money given back to you, you just never have it taken off your cheque in the first place.
This is especially beneficial to some low-income earners who don't actually file their taxes (but still paid them off of any pay cheque)

2) Its more transparent, everyone pays the 'sticker' price

3) Subject to a couple of refinements, you can basically eliminate the tax return and save a load of administrative/bureaucratic cost. (Additional changes would require that banks/brokerages deduct your taxes owing from investments,, interest, capital gains etc. at source, like your employer.; as well, if you tie a National Child Benefit to income tax, and want to eliminate returns, you'll have to tie CRA's database into one that recognizes who is a parent of a child of applicable age. )
 
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From Chris Moise, Newsletter

As we approach the Spring season, we are anticipating warmer weather, and our communities want to spend more time in our green spaces. My goal is to ensure that Allan Gardens can be enjoyed by everyone in our community through the spring and summer seasons, and I continue working with City Staff to address the encampments in Allan Gardens.

I am disappointed to report that since my last update, there has been an increase of individuals encamped in Allan Gardens. There are currently 33 tents and 25 individuals in Allan Gardens; an increase of 6 tents and 14 individuals. Recent safety incidents, including stabbings, fires and overdoses in Allan Gardens, continue to exacerbate concerns of the community both in and around the park. This is also very concerning and frustrating for me.

Contracted corporate security guards have now been on-site 24/7 to address any public safety issues and prevent further debris from being brought into the park.

Earlier this month, I visited Allan Gardens with City Staff to walk through the park and meet some of the individuals living in tents in Allan Gardens. I then convened a meeting with the City Manager and the General Manager of Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) along with staff from the Office of Emergency Management, Parks, and Streets to Homes to request they put together a short-term and medium-term plan to offer everyone currently in the park either permanent housing or safe indoor accommodations with supports as soon as possible and to return the park to a vibrant space that can be enjoyed by everyone this summer.

City Staff have explored using spaces at Seaton House and Dan Harrison to ensure people have options to stay in our community. They reported that Seaton House is currently sheltering 232 people, which is the maximum capacity based on the elimination of bunk beds and physical distancing requirements. SSHA introduced a winter program at the location in November 2022, which added approximately 80 additional clients to the program. They also reported that Dan Harrison only has a vacancy rate of 7.7% and that Streets to Homes currently has 6 of the vacancies available on offer to clients living in Allan Gardens. To date, 14 people from Allan Gardens have moved into vacant Toronto Community Housing units in the downtown east. Staff continue to use all opportunities to access the TCHC units, including at Dan Harrison, for people living in Allan Gardens.

As of last week, the Encampment Office will be present in the park daily and will be doubling its hours in the park to enhance the coordination of City services. Streets to Homes has increased its partnered agency presence in the park and continue to reach out to other agencies that may be able to support encampment residents.

The bottom line is, we need permanent solutions to break the cycle we have been stuck in. Over the coming months, the city is expected to deliver more deeply affordable and supportive homes with the financial support of the Federal Government through their Rapid Housing Initiative, which requires sites to be identified and built within 18 months of receiving the funding. This is currently the most realistic plan to provide the critical permanent housing solutions we need to achieve zero encampments in Allan Gardens.

Despite all efforts, there are 8 individuals who continue to decline all support and services. City Staff continue to work hard to build relationships and trust with these individuals. I will continue to make Allan Gardens my top priority and meet with City Staff on a weekly basis until there are no more encampments in the park.

I’d like to thank City Staff and our community agency partners for their hard work in outreach and for securing housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. I’d also like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we work through these complex circumstances.
 
I concur.

I don't favour a flat-tax in terms of rate-structure, I like progressive rates; but I do favour deduction free, we don't care how you earn your money or how you spend it, you owe the state 'x' percent of your haul.

In my ideal version of income tax we would actually hike the base rate considerable (currently 15+5, federal and provincial); but vastly up the tax-free amount to reflect not deducting from people who can't afford to lose the money, and replacing the value of certain low-income credits, which I would eliminate in the above structure.

(don't hold me to the numbers as I haven't updated my math recently on these); but I'm thinking something like $40,000 tax-free income for everyone. But then entry-level brackets of 22+8 (30%), with no deductions.

I wouldn't actually bump the high rates much at all which are nominally up near 50%, and would probably actually bump up the income at which they kick-in; as if you remove all the deductions the absolute amount paid will skyrocket.

***

To me, the advantages are obvious:

1) You don't have to wait up to 12 months to submit a tax return to get money given back to you, you just never have it taken off your cheque in the first place.
This is especially beneficial to some low-income earners who don't actually file their taxes (but still paid them off of any pay cheque)

2) Its more transparent, everyone pays the 'sticker' price

3) Subject to a couple of refinements, you can basically eliminate the tax return and save a load of administrative/bureaucratic cost. (Additional changes would require that banks/brokerages deduct your taxes owing from investments,, interest, capital gains etc. at source, like your employer.; as well, if you tie a National Child Benefit to income tax, and want to eliminate returns, you'll have to tie CRA's database into one that recognizes who is a parent of a child of applicable age. )

Yeah. If someone wants to donate a fortune to a hospital or university, please do if you actually believe in it. But don’t make it a tax shelter that you then get to slap your name on top of.
 
From Chris Moise, Newsletter

As we approach the Spring season, we are anticipating warmer weather, and our communities want to spend more time in our green spaces. My goal is to ensure that Allan Gardens can be enjoyed by everyone in our community through the spring and summer seasons, and I continue working with City Staff to address the encampments in Allan Gardens.

I am disappointed to report that since my last update, there has been an increase of individuals encamped in Allan Gardens. There are currently 33 tents and 25 individuals in Allan Gardens; an increase of 6 tents and 14 individuals. Recent safety incidents, including stabbings, fires and overdoses in Allan Gardens, continue to exacerbate concerns of the community both in and around the park. This is also very concerning and frustrating for me.

Contracted corporate security guards have now been on-site 24/7 to address any public safety issues and prevent further debris from being brought into the park.

Earlier this month, I visited Allan Gardens with City Staff to walk through the park and meet some of the individuals living in tents in Allan Gardens. I then convened a meeting with the City Manager and the General Manager of Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) along with staff from the Office of Emergency Management, Parks, and Streets to Homes to request they put together a short-term and medium-term plan to offer everyone currently in the park either permanent housing or safe indoor accommodations with supports as soon as possible and to return the park to a vibrant space that can be enjoyed by everyone this summer.

City Staff have explored using spaces at Seaton House and Dan Harrison to ensure people have options to stay in our community. They reported that Seaton House is currently sheltering 232 people, which is the maximum capacity based on the elimination of bunk beds and physical distancing requirements. SSHA introduced a winter program at the location in November 2022, which added approximately 80 additional clients to the program. They also reported that Dan Harrison only has a vacancy rate of 7.7% and that Streets to Homes currently has 6 of the vacancies available on offer to clients living in Allan Gardens. To date, 14 people from Allan Gardens have moved into vacant Toronto Community Housing units in the downtown east. Staff continue to use all opportunities to access the TCHC units, including at Dan Harrison, for people living in Allan Gardens.

As of last week, the Encampment Office will be present in the park daily and will be doubling its hours in the park to enhance the coordination of City services. Streets to Homes has increased its partnered agency presence in the park and continue to reach out to other agencies that may be able to support encampment residents.

The bottom line is, we need permanent solutions to break the cycle we have been stuck in. Over the coming months, the city is expected to deliver more deeply affordable and supportive homes with the financial support of the Federal Government through their Rapid Housing Initiative, which requires sites to be identified and built within 18 months of receiving the funding. This is currently the most realistic plan to provide the critical permanent housing solutions we need to achieve zero encampments in Allan Gardens.

Despite all efforts, there are 8 individuals who continue to decline all support and services. City Staff continue to work hard to build relationships and trust with these individuals. I will continue to make Allan Gardens my top priority and meet with City Staff on a weekly basis until there are no more encampments in the park.

I’d like to thank City Staff and our community agency partners for their hard work in outreach and for securing housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. I’d also like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we work through these complex circumstances.
One way to take back Allan Gardens is through dilution. There are tens of thousands of sane, sober and stably-housed people who reside around Allan Gardens but who see how the city has abandoned the park to illegal activities and thus stay away. I’ve seen the fix in action, I recall about ten years ago there was a craft and music festival in Allan Gardens park, with bands and artists setting up booths, much like the Cabbagetown Festival each September. I recall mentioning to my wife how the park was for that one day, completely changed, with people of all sorts hanging together, and it was enlightening and amazing. So, here’s the fix - make the park a place for regular festivals and community events that have nothing to do with the homeless and shelter industry. Instead treat the space like Woodbine Park or Riverdale Park, build a bandstand, hold movie and performance arts nights. Clearly the city is unwilling or unable to deal with illegal encampments, drug use, etc., but through changing the demographics of the park we can lessen the impact. Dilution is the solution.
 
Think about something you worked really hard to achieve. It is helpful to think of something that others were competing for too. Maybe its a getting a job with a lot of applicants or a promotion, or a getting into a particular university program, maybe its winning an election, maybe its just achieving a personal goal. Then imagine if you knew, right from the outset that you would succeed regardless of effort. You didnt have to prepare, study, network, knock on doors, whatever . There is no way you would put in as much effort into it. Now scale that across the entire country. No one should be starving on the streets of Canada, but I struggle with the basic income theory. Based on my own life experience, a lot of people (not everyone or perhaps even the majority) will opt for a path of lesser resistance.
 
Think about something you worked really hard to achieve. It is helpful to think of something that others were competing for too. Maybe its a getting a job with a lot of applicants or a promotion, or a getting into a particular university program, maybe its winning an election, maybe its just achieving a personal goal. Then imagine if you knew, right from the outset that you would succeed regardless of effort. You didnt have to prepare, study, network, knock on doors, whatever . There is no way you would put in as much effort into it. Now scale that across the entire country. No one should be starving on the streets of Canada, but I struggle with the basic income theory. Based on my own life experience, a lot of people (not everyone or perhaps even the majority) will opt for a path of lesser resistance.

I think you have an incorrect sense of what 'Basic Income' might involve. No one is advocating, straight-face or otherwise for $50,000 per year, never mind a truly comfy life.

Any discussion of this involves an income no higher than what CERB provided, adjusted for inflation, so, maybe $2,300 per month in today's money

That's less than 30k per year, which in Toronto would still leave you unable to afford even the most meager market housing.

The idea of basic income is not a free ride. Its 'simplicity'. No criteria, no applications, no tax return, you get this just for breathing. But its also sufficiently modest that every incentive to work remains.

The idea is that this not only insures those who need it most get something, irrespective of any mental health or other challenges they might otherwise face in obtaining support.........but also that its administratively simple. You could literally lay off thousands of government staff whose jobs are data entry and case management, by having everything done in an automated fashion.

There are differing 'detail' options; notably, whether to send this 'cheque' (direct deposit) to every single citizen over the age of 18; and then tax it back for those who don't need it; or whether to administer it more like the National Child benefit, as something that declines as your income rises, until you no longer benefit.

***

For the record, I don't believe such a scheme is politically viable currently. But I do think it has much to recommend it, in the fullness of time; and phasing such a program in makes some sense.

The National Child Benefit is already a form of this; so is the HST tax credit. Its a matter of ultimately achieving the same effect, but with more money, but only a single stream payment, and one you need not check a box on a form to obtain.
 
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Think about something you worked really hard to achieve. It is helpful to think of something that others were competing for too. Maybe its a getting a job with a lot of applicants or a promotion, or a getting into a particular university program, maybe its winning an election, maybe its just achieving a personal goal. Then imagine if you knew, right from the outset that you would succeed regardless of effort. You didnt have to prepare, study, network, knock on doors, whatever . There is no way you would put in as much effort into it. Now scale that across the entire country. No one should be starving on the streets of Canada, but I struggle with the basic income theory. Based on my own life experience, a lot of people (not everyone or perhaps even the majority) will opt for a path of lesser resistance.
Basic income is about providing a different backstop. Right now the backstop, the wall when you've hit rock bottom is either jail, homeless encampments, begging, drugs, crime, hospitalization, early death, etc., often leading to otherwise unnecessary multi-generational societal costs, such as the offspring of poverty-stricken people repeating the same cycle. These all present costs and impacts upon society. A basic income replaces some of this, being the new backstop, essentially offering a softer landing.
 
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Provincial funding announced today https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/...more-supportive-housing-for-vulnerable-people

"The Ontario government is investing an additional $202 million annually in homelessness prevention programs to help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and to support community organizations delivering supportive housing ... Of the $202 million in additional annual funding, $190.5 million will be provided each year through the Homelessness Prevention Program, which gives Ontario’s 47 service managers greater flexibility to allocate funding and make better use of existing resources to focus on reducing and preventing homelessness. The remaining $11.5 million each year will be invested in the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program, which provides Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness."
 
This book by an ardent liberal progressive looks interesting. I shall check it out.



I do wonder what downtown east and around Dundas Square would look like if the city government and homeless and addiction service providers had not decided to make these areas their focus. Presumably the clientele go to wherever the food and shelter is.

This quote makes me think:

“One word, ‘homeless,’” writes Shellenberger, “entails an entire, insidious discourse that acts subconsciously and subliminally on our hearts and minds, rendering us unable to understand the reality before us.” Originally coined by progressive activists in the early 1980s, the term deliberately obfuscates the fact that people live on sidewalks not because of poverty and high housing costs, but primarily because of untreated mental illness, drug addiction, or a combination of the two, as Shellenberger shows by talking to “rough sleepers,” parents, and social workers.

This conceptual confusion produces counterproductive policy choices like the Housing First model, whose underlying assumption is that unsheltered addicts and the mentally ill will recover as soon as they are provided with an apartment. West Coast cities are so wedded to this model that they have diverted funding from providing cheaper temporary shelters toward building fewer, more expensive apartments.
 
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This book by an ardent liberal progressive looks interesting. I shall check it out.



I do wonder what downtown east and around Dundas Square would look like if the city government and homeless and addiction service providers had not decided to make these areas their focus. Presumably the clientele go to wherever the food and shelter is.
My opinion remains that some form of institutionalization needs to be brought back, because the contemporary faux-liberal (in reality laissez-faire libertarian) approach to homelessness is actually misrepresenting liberalization policies like in Portugal, and is instead allowing vulnerable people to be preyed on by the unscrupulous. Just providing more 'street services' without any requirements doesn't necessarily lead to a reduction in homelessness, it just makes it easier to live on the streets, as can be seen in cities where these approaches have been pursued to their maximalist extents (like in SF, LA, and Vancouver).

Likewise, there really needs to be a push to improve the security of the precariously housed/employed, and to find housing for the upper layers of homeless (aka the recently homeless ones), to prevent the stress of street living from impacting their health and mental state- the CoL issues in Toronto have really eroded what were traditionally low-CoL buffers (rooming houses, motels) for the most vulnerable bottomost layers of our society.
 
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My opinion remains that some form of institutionalization needs to be brought back, because the contemporary faux-liberal (in reality laissez-faire libertarian) approach to homelessness is actually misrepresenting liberalization policies like in Portugal, and is instead allowing vulnerable people to be preyed on by the unscrupulous. Just providing more 'street services' without any requirements doesn't necessarily lead to a reduction in homelessness, it just makes it easier to live on the streets, as can be seen in cities where these approaches have been pursued to their maximum extent (like in SF, LA, and Vancouver).

And using Housing First as an excuse to increase development without planning to provide other forms of support doesn't do it either. I don't know anything about Portugal specifically but all of the details I have read about true Housing First recognize that First does not mean Only and include the elements to help people find work if feasible and oversight to keep people on meds, off the streets, and out of emergency rooms.

Institutionalization feels a bit like the wrong term in that it sounds permanent and should not be considered a form of housing. It doesn't matter whether someone is on the streets or living indoors, if they are a threat to themselves or others they should be under observation somehow and the threat/risk should be regularly reviewed.
 
In the context of the Matlow promise to set up an agency to build affordable housing (City-owned)........

The Star's Ed Keenan out with an article broadly endorsing the idea:


From the above, we see a graph of the number of units of affordable housing constructed by TCHC per year
* (this will refer to TCHC's predecessors prior to its current form, the MTHA and City Home)

1681494932759.png


I want to take a look at those numbers and the huge difference they represent.

Total builds in the 70s were averaging just under 4,000 units per year at peak. That's at a time when the City's population was ~2,000,000; today, its roughly 50% larger.

So to scale, this would represent 6,000 units per year.

Lets meet in the middle for the post-2000 years in which housing has become such an issue, and imagine if the City/Province had built 5,000 units per year over the last 22 years.

Allowing for what was actually built...........we're talking about ~100,000 net new units of housing. That by the way would house every single person in Toronto shelters, every single person in an encampment, a slew of people currently in rooming houses and cut the wait list for public housing by 1/3 or more.

To achieve that and match current growth rates, we need a 10-year build out of 150,000 units or so, or 15,000 a year. That's unlikely to happen, sadly, but if paints a clear picture of what could be done, and what it would achieve.
 
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