Anti-poverty group holds march on city hall over inadequate shelter space for homeless

Click to play video: 'Homeless shelters in ‘crisis situation’: OCAP'
Homeless shelters in ‘crisis situation’: OCAP
WATCH ABOVE: Even during this latest cold snap, homeless men and women are being turned away from city-run shelters according to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. As Caryn Lieberman reports, as a result, it's come up with a list of demands for the mayor – Feb 15, 2016

A march on Toronto city hall is planned Wednesday morning to shed light on the lack of adequate shelter space for the city’s homeless population.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) recently released a report which indicates homeless shelters in Toronto are bursting at the seams as space is becoming increasingly limited.

The report titled, “Out in the Cold: The Crisis in Toronto’s Shelter System,” surveyed 105 people during the week of Jan. 18 who were unable to get a bed at a city-run shelter and found 81 per cent of them were denied a spot because shelters were full.

Even ‘Out of the Cold’ programs, which are run by inter-faith groups and offers additional shelters to the homeless, are facing a huge crunch.

Among those surveyed, 55 per cent admit they were also denied overnight access to the programs.

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OCAP is demanding city officials to enforce its 90 per cent maximum occupancy policy for shelters, including opening up new spaces such as federal armories.

The anti-poverty group also wants to prevent the further loss of shelter beds, to end discriminatory practices and have housing opportunities open to the homeless.

Organizers say a rally will take place at 11 a.m. at the north-west corner of Queen and Sherbourne prior to the march.

According to the city’s daily shelter census data, youth, women men and families have access to 4,374 beds in all of Toronto with the occupancy rate at 92 per cent as of Feb. 11.

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