Saturday, December 7, 2019
   
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National Housing Day

I find it appropriate that National Housing Day is on November 22, the day that we celebrate Mother St. John Fontbonne, the re-foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who had a deep commitment to loving the dear neighbour. 

Food, water and shelter are among the most basic needs we all share, and providing those to people living with poverty has been core to the work of the Sisters over the years.
 
The initial ministry for Fontbonne Ministries was housing for older single women in need of rent-geared-to-income housing, and the other ministries have risen up around that first vision. 
 
 
Over the years, we have continued this ministry by providing housing for 18 women. As the demographic of our resident population advances in age, we have begun to look at ways we can modify the space to ensure that the women can continue to live with us. 
 
We know that these 18 apartments are a very small contribution to an enormous issue. In Toronto, the active waiting list for social housing sits at over 100,000. 
 
That list includes many who can no longer afford the rents in their current market-rent space, people in the shelter system, and people who struggle to live in an expensive city. 
 
Canada now has a 10-year National Housing Strategy which promises to house many of those most hard-to-house, provide more housing for people struggling with housing costs, and work to ensure that affordable housing is built to address those needs. 
 
Even if Fontbonne Place is not able to provide shelter for most of those in need, we can advocate for decent, affordable housing. We can take every opportunity to remind ourselves and those who hold political and other leadership roles that everyone needs safe housing that they can afford.
 
Our invitation today, as we celebrate Mother St. John, is to pray that those in leadership have the will to fulfill the commitment to affordable housing, and that we will continue to support new housing initiatives so that all in Toronto and Canada have a place to call home. 
 
Leanne Kloppenborg
Director, Mission & Values and Volunteers
Fontbonne Ministries

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