Read my letter to Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, then sign the petition! By the way, I’m NOT a big believer in online petitions, but in some small, local situations, I think they may be very helpful at increasing gauging awareness… at the very least.
I'm emailing today because I can't be there in person to protest the proposed closure of the School House shelter. This is the WRONG DIRECTION for our city, one that will cause more harm than the minor economic savings could possibly justify.
Though I myself live in Mr. Mihevc's riding (whom I have cc'd), my brother, who has schizophrenia and other mental health issues, has been a resident at the School House for the past year and a half.
With virtually no control over his own life and impulses, he is not violent or a threat to anyone other than himself, but he does drink and behave erratically. He is virtually unhouseable elsewhere. That doesn't mean he deserves to die of exposure or sleep on the streets.
CAMH and our family have tried placing him in various forms of community-based housing and support programs, but these usually become unworkable pretty quickly. The School House offers a unique environment where mental illness and other problems are not criminalized and where individuals who need it can find the warmth and safety that is simply not available to them elsewhere.
I support the effort to find and build permanent housing where such a thing is a possibility. However, this is not always practical or possible. As Jesus said, "the poor you will always have among you," although I notice, perhaps cynically, that he used the line to justify spending more on luxuries for himself. Which, I fear, is what the City may be doing at this time as well.
Anything else is a luxury as long as our fellow Torontonians have nowhere to sleep at night.