Andrea Jackson says individuals are more conscious of how close they are to becoming homeless. A difference has been made by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, she says. Jackson: “Everybody is two paycheques away from being homeless, the majority of the population” As part of the Emergency Shelter and Homelessness Service Worker Appreciation Week, she spoke to CBC Toronto. Sunday was the end of the week, which began on Monday and ended on Sunday. The homelessness crisis in Toronto is taking a tough turn, says homeless advocate Andrea Jackson, 50, a worker at Streets to Homes.
Street outreach worker Andrea Jackson says encampments have made homelessness more conscious of Toronto residents. She could speak to anywhere from three to 15 unhoused individuals on a given day. Jackson says she wants residents of Toronto to remember that homelessness is a complex issue. She says that there is a wide mix of people in the shelter system, from people with ‘uncontrolled mental health’ problems to those who have simply lost their jobs.
“They’ve had events happen in their life that they just were not able to overcome,” she says. “It can break your heart,” Jackson says of the people with whom she works, who often have limited access, such as phone and internet access, to a lot of stuff. “The people with whom I work are not, quite often, discounted,” she adds.