The federal government has announced it’s giving $15 million to the City of Toronto to be used toward temporary housing amid capacity issues at local shelters and respite centres.
“While the provision of affordable temporary housing has been a key challenge in Toronto for some time, the Government of Canada recognizes that there has been a greater demand for shelter space this past year due to the impacts of global migration,” officials said in a statement on Friday.
“It will support the city’s efforts in helping asylum seekers to find temporary housing solutions, as they do for all individuals who use municipal shelters.”
According to the City of Toronto’s daily overnight shelter census, 100 per cent of family shelter spaces, 99 per cent of women’s shelter spaces, 98 per cent of men’s shelter spaces and 97 per cent of co-ed shelter spaces were occupied on Thursday.
Recently housing advocates called on the City of Toronto to declare homelessness a state of emergency.
“In the city of Toronto emergency plan, it says that an emergency is a situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons,” street nurse and homelessness activist Cathy Crowe said on Tuesday.
“We are seeing serious harm to persons every day. The worst, of course, being deaths. There are at least four deaths that have happened this year. They have all been extremely violent deaths and we are investigating two others at this point.”
The federal government also provided $11 million to the City in June to cover similar expenses. The statement said officials are looking to develop a cost-sharing agreement with the Ontario government to pay for services and housing-related costs as a result of increased asylum claims and irregular border crossing.
Last year, the Ontario government called for millions in compensation from the federal government to address increased costs.
— With files from David Shum