The death of any person on the streets of Toronto "is one too many", said Mayor John Tory after a homeless man froze to death in a bus shelter at Yonge and Dundas. Last year, during that extreme cold spell, at least three homeless men died while sleeping/living outdoors.
Homeless shelters are functioning beyond capacity and this year marks the 30th year that the City relies on the volunteer Out of the Cold program to sleep homeless people on mats in church halls. Despite a City Council motion from the 1990s (reaffirmed in 2013) that the city's shelter system should not go beyond a 90% capacity, it continues to do so. This year's City budget has no provisions to open more shelters to meet the 90% rule nor does it include monies to fund the life-saving warming centres for next January and February.
Toronto's Homeless Memorial now has 792 names on it. Say no to more unnecessary homeless deaths. Tell City Council and the Mayor you want to see funding for more shelters and warming centres in the 2016 budget.
**photo credit - Mi Kang