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2 new homeless shelters, 1 permanent, to open in Toronto this weekend

Last Updated Jan 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm EDT

Coun. Joe Cresssy, joined by former governor general . Adrienne Clarkson, announces a new permanent homeless shelter in Toronto on Jan. 25, 2018. CITYNEWS/Hugues Cormier

Toronto is opening two new winter respite services this weekend which will be able to shelter up to 200 homeless people.

The announcement comes as the Moss Park Armoury is set to close on Monday.

At a news conference on Thursday, Coun. Joe Cressy announced a shelter will open at 348 Davenport Rd., near Dupont Street, on Saturday at 4 p.m.

After April 15, the site will be renovated as an accessible permanent shelter with up to 90 beds, and health and other support services.

The province has also made 354 George St. available until April 15. The site, which will be operated by Homes First Society, will begin accepting the homeless by 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The city will provide transportation to the two sites or other shelter beds for those staying at the Moss Park Armoury.

“Working to ensure these locations are located seamlessly in communities, and are part of their communities, is a collective effort which requires the cooperation and the sensitivity of every single Torontonian just as it is the responsibility of everyone to fight homelessness,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

 

The city continues to grapple with expanding shelter spaces for the homeless, especially during the cold winter months. Critics have said there is a lack of adequate shelter for the homeless, which prompted both the City of Toronto and its ombudsman to launch formal investigations.

On Tuesday, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said the province is working with the city to improve access to health services for people who are homeless or using shelters. Toronto is beginning with a project in five new shelters across the city that will provide more than 300 beds to vulnerable people with often complex health needs.

The new initiative comes at a crucial time as concerns are being raised over how the shelters are dealing with the health issues of the homeless.

On Wednesday, a man died after an outbreak of the what appears to be flu at Seaton House — Toronto’s largest homeless shelter. The cause of the man’s death has not been confirmed but it’s believed he was among 28 people at the shelter who have exhibited flu-like symptoms.

The city is also investigating after a homeless man was sent to hospital from the Moss Park Armoury shelter on Sunday.


Related stories:

Toronto to review shelter system amid cold-weather crisis facing homeless

Additional shelter beds approved amid emotional debate at City Hall

Former youth detention centre to be used as homeless shelter


With files from The Canadian Press