HOW TO END THE NATIONAL CRISIS
Barely two decades ago the world's experts in housing policy were giving Canada high marks for its progressive housing policies. Until recently, our own common understanding of homelessness had been limited to occasional wanderers, eccentrics, boozers or addicts. Yet, as a new century dawns, homelessness as we recognize it has changed and grown, offering painful reminders of the soup-kitchen lineups of the depression era.
Homelessness is a rapidly growing social problem. Measured in terms of displaced persons, the dimensions of the crisis rival those found during natural disasters such as the Quebec and Manitoba floods, or the great ice storm of '98.
Today's homelessness in Canadian communities represents a relatively new phenomenon, difficult to comprehend in this land and time of plenty. How did this happen? How did we get here? What can be done to solve it?
Jack Layton, one of this country's leading experts and outspoken activists on housing issues, addresses the crisis from its roots, in order not only to understand the problem, but to find workable solutions. With a stunning combination of rigorous research and compelling personal anecdote, and trenchant and timely analysis from such wide-ranging sources as social scientists, housing economists, mayors, journalists, clergy and the homeless themselves, Homelessness offers insight, perspective and proactive solutions to a seemingly intractable crisis.
Layton was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1950 and grew up in the small town of Hudson, on the Ottawa River in Quebec. He received his Bachelors degree from McGill University and his Masters degree and PhD from York University. His doctoral thesis concerned attempts by countries to control multinational capital flows. Layton became a professor at Ryerson University in 1974 and has taught at all of Toronto's universities.
For nearly 20 years Layton served as a city councillor in Toronto. He also served as President of the Federation of Canadians Municipalities where he forged a united and powerful lobby that led to a new national focus on the state of Canada’s municipalities and the services they deliver.
Jack Layton succeeded Alexa McDonough as NDP Leader in January 2003.
Layton was elected MP in Toronto-Danforth in the 2004 federal election which saw the NDP’s national vote climb by more than one million votes.
In May 2005 Layton negotiated an amendment to the government’s budget in exchange for NDP support in the minority Parliament. The NDP’s budget amendment included deferring $4.6 billion in corporate tax cuts and instead invested that money into lowering costs for education, cutting pollution, building affordable housing, more transit, increased foreign aid, and new protection for pensions in the case of employer bankruptcies. Another example in the NDP’s long history of getting results for people.