UPDATE: City says beds were available at some homeless shelters Saturday night
Clearing up confusion after claims people were being turned away from shelters in the city in the freezing cold the city’s director of shelter services says beds are still available at multiple homeless shelters across Toronto.
Volunteers at an unsanctioned downtown supervised injection site said beds could not be found last night.
Speaking to our sister station CP24 Saturday night Gillian Kolla with the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society said she had tried to find shelter beds for people at the Moss Park supervised injection site and was told no beds were available at nearby facilities by the city's shelter system.
Kolla told CP24 she tried to send some people to the recently opened shelter inside a section of the Better living Centre at the CNE, but was told there was no space.
Sunday morning the city's director of shelter services Gord Tanner told CP24 there were spaces available at the Better Living Centre Saturday night along with the 24-hour women’s respite shelter on Cowan Avenue in Parkdale, and the shelter at 129 Peter Street.
People and pets are allowed in the Better Living Centre to warm up even if beds are not available, according to Tanner.
In a news release issued Sunday, the city said the overall shelter occupancy rate was at 95 per cent on Saturday night.
“Most of the winter respite drop-ins and Out of the Cold programs are operating at capacity, however, there were up to 60 spaces available last night and the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre overnight respite program located at 129 Peter Street had capacity to serve 20 to 30 additional clients overnight,” the city’s statement read.
“Last night, City outreach workers engaged with 14 people, none of whom accepted service. This is fewer people than on recent cold nights as the weather appears to have driven people inside.”
As part of our deep concern for people who are homeless in Toronto, Council voted earlier this month overwhelmingly in favour of creating 400 additional spaces as quickly as possible including around 100 spaces at the Better Living Centre. pic.twitter.com/RShOY8BzCz— John Tory (@JohnTory) December 31, 2017
With files from CP24