Home Safe Toronto
2009, 96:00 minutes, colour, English, closed captioned
“Homelessness starts way before you have no home. You can feel it coming… you’re trying everything to stop it and it’s not working… .” – Scott Taylor
HOME SAFE TORONTO is the second in the SkyWorks series of documentaries that deals with how Canadian families live with the threat and the experience of homelessness. It shows how the housing crisis in Canada is an expression of the increasing economic and job insecurity that has devastated the manufacturing sector in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout southern Ontario. The film reveals the consequences of this “new economy,” where families surviving on low wages with no benefits, or on dwindling social assistance, are faced with the terrible choice between keeping a roof over their heads or putting food on the table.
For families in economic crisis, the threat of losing safe and secure housing lives out in many ways. Some families are forced to relinquish their homes and double-up with friends or family. Others rush to sell their homes before the bank forecloses on their defaulted mortgages. Tenants who are financially vulnerable are
stretched to pay too much rent for substandard housing, or face the threat of an eviction notice. Some must resort to seeking refuge in shelters.
HOME SAFE TORONTO reveals how close homelessness is to so many of us. The participants who share their experiences are hard-working, hopeful Canadians who have followed the rules and done their best to achieve modest dreams.
Rose and her husband both work, yet after twenty-eight years in Canada, Rose and her family are unable to escape the cramped confines of a family shelter. Debbie struggles to cover the monthly rent on her less-than-minimum-wage job with a cleaning service, while her daughter Phaon helps out with her paper route. The Taylors and the Richards are two families sideswiped by the collapse of the Ontario auto sector, a calamity that affects both unionized and non-unionized workers. The Taylor sons, Ryan and Shayne, Phaon and her best friend Jocelyn, and students from Toronto’s Voice School all talk about homelessness from a kids’ perspective, revealing disappointment with their society as well as their hopes for the future.
But while some stories are wrenching, others offer inspiration and hope. Rene and Myriam are single moms whose experiences of homelessness and poverty have made them passionate and determined advocates for the rights of others. And at the CAW Chrysler Action Centre and the PMP Workers Action Centre, we meet laidoff employees who have banded together to support each other through a period of profound insecurity and stress.
Together, their stories open our eyes and our hearts and inspire a new determination to end homelessness in Canada.
"What really came across to me in the emotion of this film was the shock from people who never imagined that they would ever be in this situation. I think this film is so important that I want to make a commitment that we will get this film out... Thank you for giving us the courage of your voice."
- Peggy Nash, former MP
View a trailer of HOME SAFE TORONTO here:
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