United Way Hosts local Government Forum to End Homelessness in Peel Region

PEEL REGION (May 10, 2016) – On Friday, May 6, 2016, United Way of Peel Region hosted a summit to find solutions to reduce homelessness and increase access to affordable housing in Peel. The meeting included elected officials from all levels of government, United Way donors, community leaders and representatives from community partners including Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee, Fair Share Taskforce, Peel Newcomer Strategy Group, and the 20,000 Homes Campaign Committee.
    
The purpose of the symposium was to increase awareness of poverty and homelessness in Peel and to identify opportunities for all levels of government and community based organizations to work together to address this critical social issue.

“Peel has one of the longest subsidized housing wait lists in the country. There are over 12,000 in Peel waiting for subsidized housing, and the average wait time is 5.3 years,” says Shelley White, United Way of Peel Region President and CEO. “Recently we have seen unprecedented momentum on the issue of homelessness from provincial, federal and regional governments. The discussion today took that a step further, we’re building the platform to work together to ensure that everyone in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga has a warm place to sleep.”

Attendees discussed strategies to reduce poverty and the negative effect it has on the economy. Many critical issues were examined including:

  • The growing income inequality and poverty rates in Peel Region
  • The significant underfunding of the region which has led to few services being available, long wait lists and services that are not available at all within the Region of Peel.
  • Child poverty and youth homelessness
  • The need to increase affordable housing
  • The lack of mental health services available for children and youth

“The time is now to increase our levels of cooperation and collaboration among government and key community partners to ensure needs within Peel are identified and met,” said Dr. Anil Gupta, United Way of Peel Region Public Policy Committee Chair and Staff Cardiologist, Trillium Health Partners. “We’re looking forward to the future.”

"Peel Regional Council recognizes the significant impact poverty and homelessness has on many of our residents. It has directed staff to make a positive and material difference to reduce the impact within this Council term. The course of that work will need to include community partners like United Way to be effective." said David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer, Region of Peel.

"Recently we saw an historic decision at the Region which is going to address youth homelessness in Brampton – but we all know that Peel has one of the longest wait lists in the country. We now have willing and engaged partners at both the Federal and Provincial governments working with community stakeholders such as United Way Peel to bring forward practical ideas to address this crisis in Peel." said Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey.

“People deserve strong social housing programs that address individuals' real needs. That's why the Ontario government is engaged with our municipal, federal and community partners to modernize the affordable housing system into a more sustainable and people-centred approach. Together, we can ensure that all citizens receive safe and effective housing that is measured on outcomes.” said the Honourable Charles Sousa.

About United Way of Peel Region

Established in 1967, United Way of Peel Region inspires people from all walks of life to come together to raise funds, volunteer and motivate policy and attitude changes that lead to the improvement of people’s quality of life in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. United Way’s community investment focus is to help individuals and families move from a life of poverty to one full of possibilities, to ensure all children have the opportunity to be all they can be, and to build strong communities. For more information on United Way’s work in the community visit: www.unitedwaypeel.org.

Media contacts:

Trudi Ford | Senior Manager, Communications nad Marketing
905-580-7962 (mobile) | tford@unitedwaypeel.org | @unitedwaypeel