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'Spendaphobic' Rob Ford lone vote against shelter beds for LGBTQ2S youth

Mayor Rob Ford was the lone vote against setting aside shelter beds for LGBTQ2S youth.

City council voted 37-1 in favour of the proposal, which would set aside 25 per cent of beds in an existing youth shelter for LGBTQ2S youth.

“We have enough shelters for youth in this city. We do not have to spend $2.2-million on a new shelter,” Ford told reporters after the vote.

“I’m spendaphobic. That’s what I am. I’m spendaphobic. I’m not a homophobe.”

The motion also requests city staff issue a request for expression of interest to explore community interest in operating an emergency shelter or transitional housing for LGBTQ2S youths facing homelessness.

As it stands, the motion has no financial impact, as the shelter beds would be set aside from existing beds.

A 100-bed youth shelter typically costs $2.2 million a year. But the number of beds, or whether there is enough need for a LGBTQ2S-dedicated shelter, hasn’t yet been determined.

A number of councillors, including Doug Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti, were absent for the vote.

There are currently 520 beds available for homeless youths at 12 shelters operated by community agencies in Toronto, and it’s estimated that one in five youths using shelters in Toronto identify as LGBTQ2S.

Meanwhile, the mayor is holding a news conference at 9 a.m. on Friday to announce an “important infrastructure event” with fed Finance Minister Joe Oliver at the TTC’s Hillcrest yard on Bathurst Street. Mayor Ford’s event earlier this week was interrupted by shirtless protesters.

Click here to read the agenda item.

With files from Kevin Misener