Toronto shelters for homeless are coping with extreme weather

Demand for housing in the cold months of Toronto spikes

Ice continues to build on one of many building housing Toronto's homeless Chris Cammalleri // Toronto Observer

In January 2019 alone, four people have already died from homelessness.

Homelessness is something that many government funded programs and non-profit organizations have been working towards reducing.

This problem is still very relevant in the city, and its importance has only heightened with the increasing cold weather that 2019 has brought.

Over the past couple of weeks in the city, temperatures have dropped below -20 C on a regular basis.

The extreme cold this time of year affects none in the city more than the homeless.

Jamie Facciolo, manager of housing for the Homes First Society in Toronto, which houses about 600 people across various shelters, homes, and respite centres, says all can be accommodated.

“The city of Toronto, as well as a number of long-standing organizations who operate shelters, have worked really hard and in particular as the cold season approaches to insure that there is enough beds in the system,” Facciolo sais. “So I would say that there is never the possibility that there’s zero options.”

However, he was not shy to admit to the difficulties the colder months in Toronto bring.

“The cold weather is really challenging, a lot of individuals unfortunately who are homeless do choose to stay out on the streets,” he said. “But when the cold weather comes, thankfully most of them choose to come in so that increases the population, and the need for respite services.”

Even with the great efforts made by organizations such as Good Shepard ministries, Eva’s Initiative, and Homes First Society,  it is still a struggle to keep up with the constant demand of more housing and support especially in the winter months.

According to Fred Victor Housing,  more than 9,200 people in Toronto are homeless and this number is increasing. Of that population, about 75 per cent suffer from mental illness and require further help.

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Posted: Feb 5 2019 2:15 pm
Filed under: News