Usually hospitals could do with some cash infusion, but the University Health Network (UHN) has set aside a $10-million parcel of land in Parkdale for an affordable housing project.
Media reports say that the network has partnered with the City of Toronto and United Way on the Social Medicine Initiative and the objective is to ease homelessness and improve the health of people living in communities served by Toronto Western and Toronto General hospitals.
The UHN is a healthcare and medical research organization affiliated with the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine. In addition to Toronto Western and Toronto General, it includes the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehab and the Michener Institute.
UHN data for the period April 2018 to March 2019 shows 61 patients each made more than 20 visits to Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals. That’s a total of 2,096 visits for each of those patients, out of a total of 48,182 visits to UHN emergency departments.
The idea is to provide a place these poor patients can call home because discharging them to substandard housing or to shelters ends up with a good number of them coming right back for medical attention.
UHN is first in Canada to tackle the acute housing issue facing its low-income patients.
The network said sick people can’t get better if they don’t have secure access to food, are vulnerably housed and without ongoing social supports.
So, in a way this isn’t a housing initiative but rather a healthcare one. -CINEWS