Photo by Michael Swan.

Collins calls for leadership to end homelessness

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  • January 22, 2016

TORONTO - The 5,000 people in Toronto who will sleep outside, in church basements or in shelters on any given night now have their own lobbyist making their case at provincial pre-budget hearings.

Cardinal Thomas Collins urged Queen’s Park to get serious about solving homelessness at pre-budget consultations held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Toronto on Jan. 18.

“These vulnerable men, women and children have been used and often discarded far too long. It is time for bold leadership on this issue,” Collins told Associate Finance Minister Mitzie Hunter to kick off a two-hour listening session at which each presenter had three minutes to convince the government to fund their priority in this spring’s provincial budget.

Making the case for the homeless isn’t so much a choice as a necessity for Catholics, Collins told The Catholic Register the day before his presentation.

“Attention must be paid,” he said. “These are our brothers and sisters. Each one has dignity.”

In his presentation, Collins made it clear he hoped for more than a Band-Aid. He urged the province to engage Ottawa and municipal governments to help shape “a national housing strategy and a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.”

The archbishop of some two million Catholics in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond asked the provincial Liberals for an “investment of significant resources to end chronic homelessness.” He emphasized money for “social, supportive and affordable housing.”

“The worth of a community is defined by the way it cares for those of its members who are most vulnerable,” he said. “Ontario is our home — may it truly become so for our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, who are homeless.”

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