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With winter rapidly approaching, shelter capacity problems could become a serious issue in Toronto.
For yet another night, daily shelter occupancy in Canada’s largest city remained at roughly 95% on average, hitting 100% for women.
In response to the capacity problems, the Trudeau Liberals have invested $15 million in order to meet acute housing problems during the winter months, while the Ford government has put in $12 million towards women and children fleeing violence.
According to the City’s website, the current capacity is over “2,800 more beds than were available November 1, 2016, including 2,350 beds added since that time to motel programs, largely for families.”
While investments have been to increase space year over year and more investments are being made, the overall current capacity problems are worrying with winter approaching and deaths, therefore, being a possible consequence from a lack of space.
The City of Toronto’s shelter system has been overwhelmed in the past few years partially due to structural problems and partially because of the influx of refugee claimants entering Canada illegally from the U.S.-Canada border, as well as many others making refugee claims at Canadian airports. Most of the tens of thousands entering Canada illegally across the border are doing it in Quebec, however most of them then travel to Toronto.
The initial background check for those illegally entering the border can be less than two hours.
The sharp increase in refugee claimants entering the country occurred at the same time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted to the world that those looking to find a new home were welcome in Canada.
The Trudeau government’s dropping of the Mexican visa requirement also caused a large spike in the number of citizens from that country seeking asylum in Canada,
Toronto city hall has already rented out several hotels, spent $3 million to hold a large office building on a contingency basis to convert into a shelter, erected three prefabricated giant tents (costing $2.5 million each) as additional respite facilities and indefinitely kept open rundown shelters to try and accommodate Toronto’s growing homeless population.
Some refugee claimants staying in the nicer shelter accommodations in the Toronto shelter system purposefully stay in the system for six months so they can become eligible for a housing allowance that helps pay their rent for up to four years, even after they find employment.
In 2017, almost 100 homeless individuals died in Toronto alone.