TORONTO — Beaches—East York MPP Rima Berns-McGown, the NDP's critic for Poverty and Homelessness, released this statement on how the province's new stay-at-home order will affect people experiencing homelessness:
"The Ford government's stay-at-home order exempts people experiencing homelessness, yet the government is making no real effort to provide them with safe housing options. People are being told to stay home to suppress the virus, and merely exempting people without a home from the order cannot keep them safe. This is a callous move that is bound to contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
Homelessness has become a humanitarian crisis all over the province. The Ford government keeps turning its back on people and families in crisis because it doesn’t want to spend the money to help them.
As a result, it’s getting worse. In the middle of a pandemic winter, and with rising numbers of homeless people, Ontario desperately needs rent relief, paid sick days, and a clear, enforced moratorium on evictions.
Reports show police have not been given clear, advance information on how to enforce the new bylaws. There is a legitimate fear that could lead to homeless folks — who are disproportionately Black and Indigenous — themselves unfairly fined. Mr. Ford needs to be clear with BIPOC Ontarians about how he is going to keep them safe from being disproportionately targeted.
Instead of merely exempting the homeless from the stay-at-home order, Mr. Ford needs to help more people find a safe place to stay, and put in place social supports that ensure more people don’t lose their housing.”