The City of Toronto says it will open the Better Living Centre on the Exhibition Grounds as a temporary shelter, to meet the growing demand for places for the homeless to go to during the cold winter months.
It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Starting immediately, the centre is equipped to handle 20 people. By the time it’s fully up and running by mid-January, it will be able to accommodate 100 people.
Earlier this month, city council approved a plan to open 400 more shelter beds, setting aside around $10-million from the city’s reserve fund.
“When it comes to our shelter system, we must do the right thing, in the right way. I am pleased City staff have moved quickly to open additional beds for residents in our city who are experiencing homelessness,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is critical that we get all 400 spaces in place as soon as possible and I know that everyone involved understands that urgency.”
So far, the city has identified 234 spaces that will be available by mid-January. The remainder of the 166 beds will be made available soon after.
Moreover, on top of the extra 400 shelter beds, more than 290 beds will open up next year, as part of five new shelter programs.