Homeless advocates calling on city to develop vacant properties on Sherbourne into social housing

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Since the start of the pandemic, homeless encampments have been popping up across the city of Toronto.  

Homeless advocates say with the dropping temperatures, there's even more urgency for the city to deal with this growing crisis.

The Ontario Coaliton Against Poverty held a protest today to bring attention to this issue and remind municipal officials about a development proposal OCAP brought to the city in July of 2019.

"Well, there's a homeless crisis and a housing crisis in this city and winter is coming, and people are gonna die. We're very concerned. There is (sic) seven vacant lots at the corner of Dundas and Sherbourne that have been vacant for eleven years and they should be turned into social housing. A year ago, the city said they were gonna move on this and they haven't done a thing since that time and we're here to remind them that the time is now, and they need to build more social housing in this city," said OCAP's Lesley Wood, speaking with our media partner CP24.

OCAP and their supporters are demanding the city take action now and develop vacant properties on Sherbourne Street into public housing.

And OCAP says the ripple effect of the pandemic is part of the reason why we're seeing an increase in the number of people living in parks.

"We have people who are living in parks because they do not feel safe going into the shelters. There have been no COVID cases in the encampments, but there are COVID cases in the shelters. I understand why people don't want to go into the shelters right now. A long-term housing strategy requires both good quality shelters and housing, affordable housing and we need to do both," says Lesley Wood with OCAP.

Heather Seaman

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