When There Is No Place To Call Home

Dorothy said it best, “there is no place like home.”  Home is our refugee, our castle…home sweet home.  But what if you did not know how long you would have a place to stay, perhaps a day, a week or a few months?  What if you were not sure what address to put on your kid’s school forms? What if you had to go into hiding because of violence?

This is the reality for thousands of women in Toronto and across Canada. They have no home.  They live in shelters or on the street.  Some live with five or six people in a one or two bedroom apartment, hoping that everyone will be able to pay their share of the rent at the end of each month.  Many sleep on the couches of friends, going from place to place to stay with whoever will show them some kindness.

It is easy to forget about those without a home, and without access to affordable housing.  We are easily caught up in our own day-to-day lives.  Worrying about whether we can get into the housing market, or whether our kids or our friends will ever be able to buy places of their own. But, at the end of the day, we still have a home.

We need to remember the women who have been priced out of a home and the chance to have housing stability. We need to remember those who have been locked out by the lack of affordable housing in this city and across this country.

With Election Day looming, what issues are important to Canadians?  Certainly access to affordable housing affects us all.  Affordable housing creates stability and a sense of belonging. It improves overall well-being, health and economic futures. Ultimately, it strengthens women, families and communities.

There are 93,915 households – comprised of 171,309 people – on the waiting list for affordable housing in Toronto. This is simply not acceptable – we need to push all parties to commit to a national housing strategy.  We need to vote because every woman should have a place to call home.

#womenvoteforaction

Mary Wolicky is the Manager of YWCA Toronto’s Housing Support Program