#LongestNightPeel focusses on reality of homelessness

Mississauga, February 26 (CINEWS): Last year it was Mississauga’s Mayor Bonnie Crombie who spent the night sleeping in her car. This year it was her husband Brian Crombie along with several other volunteers who braved the cold.This is a United Way initiative that was introduced as a pilot project last year. It is designed to raise awareness for poverty and homelessness.Homeless_Man
Part of the #LongestNightPeel campaign, the initiative has already raised more than $24,000 for the United Way of Peel Region.
In Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey, slept in her car with scores of other volunteers who brought out their cars at Garden Square near Brampton City Hall from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson, Caledon regional councillor Annette Groves, as well as Brampton regional councillor Martin Medeiros, and Sonia Sidhu, Liberal MP for Brampton South, also took part.
The homeless numbers in the region are actually quite staggering. It is estimated at 169,000 and 195,000 individuals in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga that experience poverty or are close to joining the ranks of the homeless.
Last year, more than 14,000 people accessed shelters in Peel with children making up a large portion of that number (4,000).
And with a wait list of 12,077, Peel has one of the longest social housing wait lists for affordable housing.
And while a lot of lip service has been paid to the problem of homelessness, it is apparent that little has actually been done.
Recently Peel Regional Council decided that there was still not enough data on homelessness and have set aside over $140,000 to do a study. Apparently community workers described the critical shortage of shelter beds available for Peel’s homeless youth.
Council was also told that Our Place Peel, a non-profit agency’s 14-bed emergency Shelter in Mississauga, the only one in Peel for youth was operating at 98 per cent capacity and for every person the shelter accepted, two youth were turned away. The company website states that more than 500 youth, aged 16 to 21, were turned away last year. More needs to be done, it probably will, after the study.

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