This 15-minute documentary highlights and raises awareness among policy makers, service providers, and the general public, of the existence and impacts of homelessness and poverty in Peel Region.
In 2006, of the 359,040 households in Peel, just under 15%, or 167,000 persons, were living in poverty, among them 17,962 children under the age of six. Peel’s poverty rate had gone up from 11% or 115,000 persons in 2001.
Now in 2010, Peel has 13,500 households on the waiting list for social housing, and residents may wait 21 years, the longest wait list and the longest wait in Ontario. On the plus side, Peel now has about 600 affordable housing units in the planning or building stage.
The definition of homelessness used in the Spaces and Places documentary is: “An extreme form of poverty characterized by inadequate housing, income and social supports. People defined as homeless include those who are absolutely homeless (temporary, intermittent or ongoing), as well as those who are at risk of homelessness (under-housed). The absolutely homeless may be living in shelters, outdoors in public or semi-public spaces, with friends or relatives (couch surfing). Those who are ‘at risk’ of homelessness may be precariously housed, living in hotels, rooming houses or apartments, and transitional housing, but may potentially lose their housing due to eviction, inadequate income or because they are fleeing violence” (York University Ethics Guidelines for Conducting Research with People who are Homeless, Nov 4, 2008).
The focus of the documentary on the spaces and places of homelessness proves that homelessness really exists in Peel. The film helps us to understand the political conditions that contribute to homelessness, and the lasting impacts of being homeless on individuals, families, and communities. The individual stories demonstrate some of the complexities that lead to and keep people homeless in Peel.
The documentary, Spaces and Places, draws attention to issues of social justice and the need for change for those who live in poverty and are homeless.
What can concerned citizens do to alleviate and eventually end homelessness in Peel? Dialogue and discussion about homelessness and poverty in Peel are a necessary first step. This DVD will travel to wherever there is an audience: classrooms, community events, conferences, boardrooms, churches, municipal councils, business organizations, service clubs.
Among the points Peel Poverty Action Group and its supporters want to make is that housing in the Region of Peel is to a great extent under the control of the councils of the City of Brampton, the City of Mississauga, and the Town of Caledon.
Talk to your councillors about planning for affordable housing. Talk to your federal MP about the Canadian government investing in affordable housing. And talk to your provincial MPP at Queen’s Park not only about providing social housing, affordable housing, but also about giving Peel Region a fair share of funding for mental health.
The Spaces and Places documentary and research project is a collaborative effort with Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG), Social Planning Council of Peel (SPC Peel) and some faculty members in the School of Nursing, Critical Disability Studies and Faculty of Education at York University. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
• Ontario Trillium Foundation
• Peel Poverty Action Group
• Social Planning Council of Peel
• York University
• Nancy Halifax, M.A. & Ph.D Programs in Critical Disability Studies, York University
• Gail Mitchell, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, York University
• Isolde Daiski, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, York University
• Stephen Gaetz, Faculty of Education & The Homeless Hub
• Leslie Morris, Health Promoter, Community Resource Connections of Toronto
• Andre Lyn, Project Coordinator, Social Planning Council Peel
• Julia Gruson-Wood, M.A. Candidate in the M.A. & Ph.D Programs in Critical Disabilities Studies, York University
Director of Photography
• Jorge Manzano, M.F.A. Candidate (Film), York University
• Alexis Mitchell, M.F.A. Candidate (Film), York University
• Fred Yurichuck, MES, York University
• Fred Yurichuck, MES, York University
• Joanne Bigham
Community Support & Outreach
• Laurie Hicks, Program Manager, Regeneration Community Outreach
• Daniel Cullen, Anti-poverty, Anti-Homelessness Advocate, Brampton Neighbourhood Resource Centre (BNRC)
• Ontario Works, Peel Region
• Knight’s Table
• John Howard Society, Brampton
• Grace United Church, Brampton
• St. Paul’s United Church, Brampton
Select Images Provide By:
• Region of Peel
• Robot Repair Bootleg, The Beekeepers Society, Beta Eyes Met, Girls & the Machine
Peel Housing & Homelessness Facts
• 1,159,405 people living in 359,040 households in Peel in 2006
• 167,000 persons in private households or 15% living in poverty in 2006, up from 115,000 or 11% in 2001
• 17,962 children under 6 years of age lived in poverty in 2006
• 15,000 social housing units in Peel, of which 50% (between 7,600 and 8,000 units) are subsidized
• 13,500 households currently on the social housing wait list, with up to 21 years wait time, the longest wait list in Ontario
• 2,100 rental units were lost between 1997 and 2007
• 11,500 families (including 3,400 youth) used homeless shelters in 2007
• An individual working 40 hours per week at minimum wage would have to pay 50% of their gross salary for an average bachelor unit in Peel
• 32% of households in Peel are spending 30% or more of their income on housing in 2006
• 19% of tenants are spending more than half of their income on rent, which often results in the choice between food and paying rent
Peel Strategies to Address Affordable Housing & Homelessness
Building on their 2005 Strategic Review to address the root causes of poverty in Peel and in response to the Places to Grow Legislation, the Region of Peel in consultation with key stakeholders, has developed a housing strategy framework. This framework identified four goals on which to build a successful housing strategy:
• Adequate and diverse housing supply
• Affordable housing supply
• Housing access and housing options for unique and special needs groups
• Sustainable compact and complete communities
The Housing Strategy defines objectives as well as actions to work towards meeting these goals.
Peel Poverty Action Group
or phone (905) 826-5041