A network of advocates across the city working tirelessly to save the lives of people experiencing homelessness, are releasing this open letter from prominent members of Toronto’s business community. They have signed on to the call for Mayor Tory and City Council to declare a State of Emergency. See their open letter and the list of signatories.

You can join them, by adding your name to the petition here: progresstoronto.ca/take-action-to-declare-homelessness-a-crisis

Jan 28, 2019

To: Mayor John Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

We are business people and real estate developers who support the demand that Toronto City Council declare a State of Emergency re the crisis of homelessness and scarcity of affordable housing.

  • People’s lives are at risk - the lack of safe places to live for individuals and families is a human rights crisis.

  • It is estimated that there are now more than 9,000 individuals who are homeless in our city, and many more are at high risk of homelessness.

  • The current City plan is for more shelters and for the building of 10,000 new units over 5 years on public land, with only 3,700 ‘affordable’ rental units; and there are no deep subsidies or RGI (Rent-geared-to income) units. The City needs to be much more ambitious in its vision and goals.

  • In 2018, there were 181,000 people listed on Toronto's centralized waiting list for housing, and the city's rental vacancy rate is an "unhealthy 1%, with demolitions and home-sharing units putting further pressure on the rental market."

The City of Toronto is certain to have continuing emergencies with homelessness because of the escalating costs & prices of new housing units. There has been 20 years of neglect in not building much needed affordable rental housing. By declaring a State of Emergency for this crisis, we can focus on safer short-term options and bring together the three levels of government to develop an urgent housing plan for individuals and families who are homeless.


David Walsh, President
Carrot Common Corp

John van Nostrand

John Andras, Portfolio Manager
Director, Mackie Research Capital

Jody Steinhauer
President & Founder Bargains Group Ltd.
and Founder of Engage and Change

Jen Evans, CEO
SqueezeCMM + B2B News Network, and board member, Seeds of Hope

Alan McLaren CEO

Derek Twyman
Marketing, Hudson’s Bay

David Lockett, Executive Director
PACT Urban Peace Program

See a PDF of their letter here.

Photo Credit: Evan Mitsui/CBC Licensing