Upward of 5,000 homeless people depend on city-funded shelters to keep warm during bone-chilling winter nights, according to the City of Toronto website. There has been a steady increase, by 1.6 per cent, in the homeless population since 2009. Emergency shelters are experiencing the highest average for nightly occupancy since 2011, accommodating more than 4,000 homeless people every night in all 57 city-operated shelters.
When Chavenne Stamp realized she could not afford to hire a face painter for a children’s party, she got a paint kit and gave it a go. Stamp, 26, is raising her two children on a $12 an hour wage. She got the pay raise barely six months ago when she left her job working at a big-box retail store where she earned $10.25 per hour, Ontario’s minimum wage.
A gallery full of emotional stories were told at the update on emergency shelter services meeting at City Hall on March 18. After protests by Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) argue there is a great shortage of shelter beds available nightly, the Community Development and Recreation Committee discussed a report stating that there are.
An anti-poverty activist believes Toronto’s budget cuts will hurt homeless and poor women most. Bellwoods House is a transitional house located near Bathurst and Queen streets. As a long-term shelter for women over the age 50, it accommodates up to 10 residents at a time. It assists women who are victims of violence, those dealing with long-term homelessness or a history of trauma and mental health issues.
Karyn Graham’s son was mentally ill and addicted to prescription drugs. In 2007, he was shot and killed by the Kitchener police after stealing prescription medicine at a Shopper’s Drug Mart.
Banging on bongo drums and shaking tambourines, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) made its presence felt at a morning budget committee meeting at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 10.