Lisa Gretzky MPP, for Windsor West

Government of Ontario

Ford must help mother on hunger strike for supportive housing: NDP

Published on October 31, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK – Lisa Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West and NDP critic for Community and Social Services, demanded that Doug Ford take immediate action after news broke late Tuesday that Renfrew mother Bonnie Keefe had begun a hunger strike over the Ford government’s failure to provide supportive housing for her adult daughter who lives with a developmental disability.

Gretzky said Bonnie’s hunger strike has forced the crisis in supportive housing into the spotlight.

“Bonnie is taking this drastic action because she is desperate for help for her adult daughter, Jenny,” said Gretzky. “Jenny has William’s Syndrome. Bonnie and her husband cannot care for Jenny on their own. Jenny lived in a group home until a year and a half ago when her bed was given away after a brief hospitalization, and now she is being bounced from homeless shelter to homeless shelter, which cannot meet her complex needs.”

Keefe has been camped outside the Renfrew Town Hall since Monday, pledging to stay there as long as it takes to find a suitable housing situation for Jenny. Gretzky also noted that Keefe is taking a stand not only for the sake of her daughter, but also to raise awareness about the supportive housing crisis that impacts thousands of families across Ontario.

“The waitlist for supportive housing is over 25 years long,” said Gretzky. “Liberal and Conservative governments have created this shameful legacy in Ontario. People with developmental and intellectual disabilities are being told that their only option is to live in homeless shelters. Bonnie has tried every avenue to find supportive housing for Jenny, but she has nowhere to turn.”

“I spoke to Bonnie and she is desperate for help,” said Gretzky. “Will Doug Ford work with Bonnie to find a solution, to find a home for Jenny? Will he get to work immediately to address the backlog in supportive housing?”