Toronto looking to open Moss Park Armoury as Winter respite centre
Toronto Mayor John Tory stood in front of the microphones and cameras today for one hour to address the homeless crisis that's plaguing the city.
Over the weekend people were turned away from shelters with staff telling then there were no spaces available when there were.
Tory calls the miscommunication indefensible and looks forward to the reviews ordered by the Toronto Ombudsman and General Manager of Shelter Support. "I suspect when we boil it down it's going to come down to, as in so many areas of city government, a complete lack of technology, a complete lack of modernization of how any kinds of records are kept on these kinds of things to the point where, people are again, using clipboards and pens to keep track of things."
It took no time at all for #OpenTheArmouries to begin trending on Twitter after news began to spread that vulnerable people were being left in the cold.
"Later today I will be speaking to Federal Minister of Public Safety and will reiterate our request that they work with us and our provincial partners to provide answers related to the availability of Moss Park by the end of day tomorrow so that we will know if that site is, indeed, the best available option for preparing the 7th Winter respite centre."
The centre would open up 100 new spaces.
Tory says it was always on the table as an option. "What we did say was that we were going to base our decisions on the advice of our staff and we had options that ranked ahead of the armouries such as The Better Living Centre which is a building that we own, a building we can outfit and expand very quickly, as we have done. Now in possession of the information that we're likely to need a 7th respite site we've proceeded to formally ask the federal government for answers to the questions that make sure it qualifies as a suitable site. I can tell you right now, in the event those answers come back in a satisfactory manner that I will be supportive of using the Moss Park Armoury as a site for a 7th Winter respite centre which we fully anticipate we're going to need."
He has also requested an emergency meeting within the next seven days with the provincial ministers of health and housing to get to the bottom of the issues. "A temporary shelter system that is meant to provide people with emergency shelter in the event that their homeless is not meeting the need of people with mental health issues or with complicated health issues of one kind or another. I met a man last night, last night, a man who had had a stroke and he's disabled and in a scooter. He's in one of our temporary shelters and shouldn't be there. He has complex needs, some of which are mental health-related because he's had some issues with depression following his stroke."