TORONTO — In several Toronto districts, disabled human beings are the target or unnecessary prejudice. Residents of certain communities feel that the introduction of rooming houses, often the only option of housing for disabled people living on their own, will decrease property value, and that the disabled people themselves will decrease the quality of the neighborhood.

The HomeComing Coalition is a Toronto-based non-profit that battles this prejudice and stigma. Last July, they, along with many other organizations, were pleased to see the Ontario Humans Rights Commission (OHRC) issue a statement reminding landlords that denying accommodation to those with disabilities violates the Ontario Code.

Then, in January of this year, they helped ensure that Toronto’s planning and growth committee introduce an order that would require all 44 wards in Toronto to draw up by-laws permitting the construction of rooming houses, where several disabled people could live together in one house, paying low-rent and being looked after full-time.

Article 25 of the UN declaration of human rights says, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.” Since rooming houses are often the only choice of housing for those with disabilities, it should known as a basic standard of living, and therefore a human right.

However, even with these cultural and political breakthroughs, the HomeComing Coalition remains wary of loopholes in the by-laws that may still be discriminatory. Since so many individuals across Toronto are concerned about property values, especially in tough economic times like these, the by-laws may take long to be drafted and passed.

The Coalition also fights prejudice towards aboriginals on the same grounds, that their introduction into a neighbourhood would decrease the overall standard of living, due to a stereotypical depiction of the group. Also, off-reserve aboriginals cannot access federally funded services that were previously available to them on-reserve.

The government is wary of aiding aboriginals in everyday society therefore, in urban centers, they must fend for themselves. They move to the cities in search of a better life, but are often the target of discrimination, leaving them without jobs and money.

Youths are the last of the three groups the HomeComing Coalition, along with other organizations like it, fights to defend. The introduction of youths into a neighborhood, residents believe, could pose safety risks, since the stereotypical view of low-income youth is negative. In reality, many low-income youth are students, without the necessary funds to live near campus or afford rent even with a roommate.

The next battle for the HomeComing Coalition and its partners will be to ensure the safety of those who do move into these neighborhoods. Aboriginals, youths and those with disabilities could be subject to verbal and perhaps even physical abuse, something that non-profits, along with the government, will have to prevent.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

3 Responses

  1. Tomp

    I have a cousin with DD who lives in a group home in NYC (Fineson Residence, Lower East Side). It is well known that the manager Curtis Walker has stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of supplies, foodstuffs, household equipment and petty cash reserves. This well known liar and thief has seriously damaged the credibility of the organization who hired him and for some reason, chose to over look his drug past. This is not uncommon with DD facilities. With their low wages and benefits the hiring pool has intrinsically lowered the bar.
    Curtis Walker was terminated last year from another agency for an alleged sexual assault on an elderly consumer

  2. joy

    It’s always encouraging to see coverage of the “Yes-In-My-Backyard issue.” But as a member of HomeComing myself, I have to say we can’t pretend to the power you credit us with. We’ve been pleased to participate in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s consultation on rental housing, and are delighted to see their strong statements against discriminatory NIMBY. But we certainly can’t claim to have “got the OHRC to issue a statement” — that is the result of the Commission’s own convictions. Toronto’s recent rooming housing initiatives are the result of the hard work of many, many individuals and organizations. And although HomeComing champions the rights of everyone to live in the neighbourhood of their choice, we don’t pretend to be leaders on youth or aboriginal issues.

    The good news about the Yes-In-My-Backyard movement is that it is not the work of just one organization — it is the cause of MANY!

  3. Sachin Seth

    hey joy, thanks for the comment, i made some changes to ensure I didn’t give HomeComing all the credit for wonderful job done by a collective group of organizations.


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