TORONTO, April 29, 2005 – The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) applauds the federal and provincial governments for announcing long-awaited funding today that will improve the housing – and health – of vulnerable populations, says RNAO president Joan Lesmond.
“Housing is a basic human right and a prerequisite for health. The $602 million announced today to build affordable housing and to increase access to rent supplements will make a real difference in the health and quality of life of Ontarians,” she says. “We congratulate the federal and provincial governments for ending the 10-year delay in providing the affordable housing that Ontarians need,” says Lesmond.
RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun said over that decade, nurses have seen first-hand how increased homelessness and inadequate housing have affected the health and well-being of Ontarians. That prompted RNAO to speak out early and often about the need for more and better housing for the people of Ontario, especially vulnerable populations such as people with mental illness and addictions, new immigrants, and low-income families, many of whom are seniors and women.
RNAO issued a policy statement on homelessness this fall, called for more funding for housing in every federal and provincial election, and has worked closely with many organizations to lobby governments to address this basic human right.
“The nursing community has been speaking out about the negative health consequences of the shortage of affordable housing in Ontario for many years. Advocates like street nurse Cathy Crowe of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee have led a creative community-based campaign to bring public and political attention to this issue, and it’s paid off,” says Grinspun.
Grinspun says the RNAO will be monitoring the implementation of this excellent announcement, and commends the governments for this commitment to improving housing in Ontario.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.