January 2, 2018 Shelter Update

Dear Neighbours,

I would like to thank you for expressing your concern regarding individuals and families who find themselves homeless during this time of the year. I share this concern at the time when Toronto's emergency shelter system is over 90% o
ccupied with many shelters operating at full capacity.

Given the scale and scope of the current situation in the City's shelter system that has seen a 30% increase in the average nightly use of shelter beds compared to a year ago, I want to reassure you that the City is working with our community partners to increase our ongoing collective response. At the last Council meeting, I supported the City taking immediate actions to add 400 beds/spaces as soon as possible including the 110 spaces recently opened at the Better Living Centre that are open and available 24/7. This is in addition to Council deciding to open another three (3) new fully functioning and permanent shelters in 2018 on top of the 291 shelter beds scheduled to open this year (including 60 permanent beds in the next 7-10 days).

This was the preferred option of City staff over the armouries, which staff have indicated remain an option although they are not as ideal since they are a working military base and would likely be open with limited hours between 7pm and 7am.

As your City Councillor, I want to assure you that I will continue to monitor the impact and adequacy of the immediate actions taken to date including visiting multiple sites tonight. At the same time, I will press for additional measures to help homeless families and individuals, including the exploration of all opportunities and partnerships to provide additional shelter spaces.

Thank you again for bringing your concern to my attention and your suggestions on how we can work together to assist homeless individuals and families who deserve nothing less than a safe, warm and accessible place to come in from the cold.

In community,

Ana

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