49% of people living in shelters and temporary housing are women. More than 75,000 women and children leave their homes each year to escape violence and abuse. Toronto’s social housing wait list is a staggering 97,000 households long. Women suffer the most without access to safe, affordable housing.
For over a decade, YWCA Toronto has been calling for the federal government to create a national housing strategy because every woman has the right to a safe, secure place to call home. The federal government is now listening and has launched consultations to establish a National Housing Strategy. We need to work together to ensure they deliver a strategy that meets the unique needs of women and girls.
Any national housing strategy must take into account the unique challenges women face – especially Indigenous women, women of diverse background, and women who have experienced violence. This strategy must draw upon the views of women with lived experience of homelessness and living in shelters, and reflect the particular needs of women. We must create the social conditions that allow all women and their children to live safe and secure lives free of violence.
“The affordable housing crisis that plagues this country should be of concern to every single Canadian. Put simply, a national housing strategy that is designed without addressing the unique challenges women face will not help women.”– Heather McGregor, CEO, YWCA Toronto