Laura Sky

No Image

Street nurse critical of city during cold alert

A former street nurse says the City of Toronto doesn’t do enough to assist the homeless in cold weather.

For the past week, Toronto has faced its coldest temperatures in over two years, with three consecutive cold weather alerts. Once a cold weather alert is issued the city relaxes its shelter restrictions and takes in more homeless off the streets. The city also opens up a reserve of 172 shelter beds during extreme cold weather alerts to help ease crowding. However, street nurse Cathy Crowe believes city services in such emergencies fall short. “The city barely calls a cold weather alert,” Crowe said. “They have to be pressured through the use of media and lobby groups… Then, they finally add beds to an overcrowded system; they aren’t really beds, more or less cots.”

No Image

Scarborough’s invisible homelessness

This is Family Residence, a city-run shelter housing more than 50 families. Behind the fence is Idlewood Inn, rented by the city when the shelter is full. Paying a weekly rate of less than $300, some lodgers stay for months.