November 22, 2020 – National Housing Day Toronto Day of Action

Sunday November 22nd is National Housing Day.  In recognition of the fact that Toronto has seen an unprecedented amount of advocacy and direct support this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way it has exposed and exacerbated the city’s pre-existing affordable housing and homelessness crises, the Shelter and Housing Justice Network has coordinated a Toronto Day of Action in solidarity with the many individuals, groups and organizations currently taking action to address our affordable housing and homelessness crisis. The Toronto Day of Action will showcase the many issues impacting our city and some of the important work being done by concerned members of the community in response to these issues; a snapshot of the critically important work people are doing all across the city to support their neighbours facing eviction, experiencing homelessness, and/or struggling with housing insecurity.
  • Groups who have organized Actions for November 22nd include: The Jane Finch Housing Coalition, Toronto ACORN, the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, Housing Action Now, Regent Park CHC, LAMP CHC, Humber College, Lakeshore Affordable Housing Advocacy and Action Group, Street Health, The Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Friends of Kensington Market, and the Canadian Federation of University Women Toronto Housing Working Group.
  • Attached is a NationalHousingDay PDF detailing the Actions taking place on November 22nd and information about how to participate.
  • You can also access this information via the Day of Action Facebook event at
  • And SHJN Twitter:

On November 22nd, we encourage Torontonians to participate in the National Housing Day Toronto Day of Action by participating in as many of these actions as possible, where it’s possible. Please spread the word!

On November 23rd, at 11am the Shelter and Housing Justice Network will be hosting a press conference to highlight the actions that took place on National Housing Day and make demands of the municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

You can tune into the press conference online via the Press Conference Facebook event here:

On Monday, November 23 as Toronto goes into “lockdown” thousands of people won’t have the opportunity to shelter in place and instead sleep in congregate shelters or outside in in-climate weather. Tens of thousands face the likelihood of being evicted by the Landlord and Tenant Board during a global pandemic. As a result of sky-high rents, gentrification, lack of RGI housing and an overflowing shelter system thousands of people suffer and many die preventable deaths. In recognition of National Housing Day, groups from across Toronto are taking actions including: petitions, email campaigns and building winterized shelters. The Toronto Shelter Housing and Justice Network (SHJN) will be holding a press conference to address the current crisis and highlight the actions that these groups are taking and make demands on all three levels of government. Six Demands for Immediate Action These demands are what SHJN and groups like Encampment Support Network, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and others have been making for months.

1. Invest in actually affordable housing. Obtain vacant buildings to convert into housing. Create 10,000 units of rent-geared to income housing in the next 24 months.

2. Immediately enforce an eviction moratorium. The Toronto Foundation estimates that 10% of renters are at risk of eviction – that is at least 130,000 people!

3. Immediately end the criminalization of encampments and issue a moratorium on clearing encampments. No one should be ticketed or harassed by police or private security for living in a park.

4. All shelter and supportive housing sites must be user-friendly and include robust overdose prevention and harm reduction services.

5. Until there is enough permanent, safe, dignified, and affordable housing, immediately ensure enough emergency shelters. That means 2000 more rooms within 4 months.

6. Immediately provide winter survival gear for those in encampments, including fire safety gear like fire extinguisher, and sand as well as sleeping bags, access to food and water, winter clothing like mitts, toques, long underwear, jackets and wool socks.

National Housing Day commemorates the day, November 22nd, 1998, that the Big City Mayors Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities endorsed the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee’s declaration that homelessness was a national disaster. Each National Housing Day we come together to demand an end to homelessness and housing precarity by calling for a national housing program. (To learn more, click here.) At the same time, there are opportunities each and every day to support our neighbours and work in solidarity with those struggling with housing precarity and homelessness. We urge all Torontonians to contribute as they can throughout the year, whether that is through financial donations, donations of goods and services, by providing direct support, through actions in solidarity with those who are struggling, and/or through political advocacy.

In solidarity,

The Shelter and Housing Justice Network