Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise. We will have the answers soon.
Toronto community and housing activist and social housing advocate Sarah St-Pierre joins us live from Ottawa. She is a former federal, provincial, and municipal housing minister. She speaks of the systemic neglect of Toronto’s social housing — which is why she is passionate about the homeless issue.
Sarah, thank you for being here.
Thank you, Anna.
Your organization has been outspoken about the lack of affordable housing. Why don’t you tell us why it has been so difficult for your organization to get it right: to build affordable housing, how can things like the social housing portfolio be so neglected?
We are facing tremendous pressures, but I think what we do is, we are on the front lines. We’re really on the frontline of these conversations to build and strengthen our communities. We can’t afford to lose the people we care about. And I think that it’s also something that I think we must remember that the people we work with care about the people. They’re the ones who have to actually come into our communities and make these relationships over years and decades.
One of the things we have learned really quickly over the last couple of decades is that not all communities in Toronto are created equal, and we’re working with a certain group of neighbourhoods. In order to have a long-term view, you have to work with the community and take the time to understand what a community is. That’s really what we’re trying to do because we’re not in the business of taking people out of our communities.
So you’re saying that you’re working with the community and taking the time to understand what a community is.
Absolutely. I think there’s a couple of elements. We were on the front lines first of all because the communities that we�