Encampments in parks are not the way to end suffering
There is some hope through an integrated approach that connects several services to provide wrap-around support. Interagency communication is the key. Milwaukee, for example, has implemented a plan that is reducing homelessness, providing support through social services, and reducing street crime. Their initiative is cost effective and helps to give people who are homeless a safe space to call home. In a survey a few years ago, 87% of the people responding confirmed that they would like to be housed.
Shelter is a basic human right, according to the United Nations, and a collaborative effort between private and public agencies will make a difference to everyone who lives in Toronto. The key is in identifying all actors in the play and allocating existing funds that will provide the resources needed.
I understand your point about personal responsibility. It is estimated that there are 5 million beds that aren't being used in private homes every night. Displacing people from parks and other public spaces is a bandaid solution. This is similar to the displacement of low income residents in the downtown that will continue to snowball if sustainable housing initiatives are not promoted and implemented. All levels of government and their agencies have a responsibility find a better way.
Dennis, I neglected to mention the years that I spent working for a charity and interacting with other volunteer agencies. There is duplication and waste. Gatekeepers to services who aren't benefiting their clients.
The study I mentioned was commissioned by a well-known charity. The interesting takeaway is that 13% of the respondents were uncomfortable about being housed. Many factors involved, including safety. Another study by a different volunteer run charity indicated that over 50% of TCHC units have experienced some form of home invasion. So, housing without wraparound services is not a complete solution.
I do believe that there are people at all levels of the government who care deeply about the issue and leadership is needed. Integrating the services and funding, including charities, to benefit those who are unhoused and underhoused is cost effective and creates a better society. That is my point.