Canada Toronto opens two new warming centres for homeless residents

11:22  05 january  2018
11:22  05 january  2018 Source:   Metro News

Toronto’s homeless are in crisis, open the armouries now and save lives

  Toronto’s homeless are in crisis, open the armouries now and save lives Toronto’s homeless are in crisis, open the armouries now and save livesIt is freezing in here. She closes her eyes, trying to shut out the noise, the cold, and the horror of having to be here. A man tries to make his way through the mats, (there are no aisles between them). He stumbles and kicks her as he passes. It looks as though he may fall upon the other people, huddled where his feet are trying to walk.

After a barrage of criticism, and with temperatures set to take a dangerous plunge, the City of Toronto opened two new warming centres for homeless people and deployed outreach workers and ambulances to check on those who refuse to move indoors.

Toronto is opening two 24-hour warming stations downtown as the thermostat plunges. Mayor John Tory said the additional capacity means anyone who reaches out for a warm place should find one by calling 311 or visiting the shelter referral centre on Peter Street.

A pedestrian walks near a sleeping homeless man at the corner of James and Albert Sts. on Jan. 2018. The extended cold snap has put pressure on Toronto's homeless shelter system.: Toronto opens two new warming centres for homeless residents© Provided by Free Daily News Group Inc Toronto opens two new warming centres for homeless residents

After a barrage of criticism, and with temperatures set to take a dangerous plunge, the City of Toronto opened two new warming centres for homeless people and deployed outreach workers and ambulances to check on those who refuse to move indoors.

Also, city and federal officials said Thursday discussions to open the Moss Park Armoury as a temporary respite centre were going well, and they expected an announcement later in the day.

Mayor John Tory said the new round-the-clock warming centres would open at Metro Hall and Regent Park Community Centre at 7 p.m. and remain open until the extreme cold weather ends.

With shelters packed and people at risk of freezing to death, why can’t we do more?

  With shelters packed and people at risk of freezing to death, why can’t we do more? It’s been cold out there. Cold enough that the annual Polar Bear Dip at Sunnyside Beach, an event specifically designed to show defiance against the frigid winter weather, was cancelled due to frozen conditions. Cold enough to cause havoc at Pearson airport, where hundreds of flights have been cancelled due to the deep freeze.Cold enough that the annual New Year’s Eve celebration at City Hall was shortened to just a half-hour long, with planned concerts and skating events cancelled. “The city is taking all measures to protect the health and safety of the public, artists, volunteers and event staff,” the city government said in a press release announcing the scaling back of festivities. And understandably so.

In the midst of bone-chilling winter weather, the City has opened the rotunda at Metro Hall, a municipal building at 55 John Street, as a warming centre for Toronto ’s homeless population. OCAP member Liisa Schofield hailed the centre as an acknowledgement of the needs of homeless residents .

With Toronto under yet another extreme cold weather warning as temperatures plunged to -30 with the wind chill, the city opened two more warming centres on Thursday night – one at Metro Hall and the other at the She said protecting homeless residents from the harsh conditions is a high priority.

“People will find a warm welcoming place to come in and get out of the cold to get a hot breakfast and we will have shelter staff and paramedics located at both of these additional sites,” he told reporters at city hall.

The extra outreach workers will try to convince people staying outside to move indoors, and keep checking on them if they refuse. Paul Raftis, head of the city’s shelter support division, said “a couple of ambulances” will also patrol the downtown core looking for anyone in danger.

Tory also urged citizens who need to find shelter for themselves or for somebody else to call 311 or go in person to the Peter St. referral centre. If anyone sees a homeless person in obvious danger, they should dial emergency services at 911, Tory said.

Toronto ombudsman probing ‘confusion’ over homeless services

  Toronto ombudsman probing ‘confusion’ over homeless services Toronto ombudsman probing ‘confusion’ over homeless services Toronto’s ombudsman is probing city services for homeless people and the city is launching a review following controversy over available shelter space as a potentially deadly cold snap stretches into the new year.Ombudsman Susan Opler announced her inquiry Tuesday in a news release citing “recent confusion” over whether the crowded shelter system has room for homeless Torontonians who want out of the cold.“We are concerned about reports that some people were mistakenly told there wasn’t any space for them on Dec. 30,” Opler said.

In the Know. Print. New Haven opening warming centers for homeless . Posted: Updated In addition to the overflow and emergency homeless shelters, the city will open two warming centers through the weekend. Residents seemed pleased about the warming centers .

strain on Toronto ’s homeless shelter system as temperatures fall to new lows. To cope with Thursday’s imminent cold snap, however, Tory says Toronto has opted to open two additional short-term warming centres downtown that will be available to residents for the duration of the cold

The extra steps follow days of criticism aimed at Tory and city staff over the response to a prolonged cold snap and packed shelter system.

In dangerous cold, some city staff had told people who called a shelter support number there was no more space for homeless Torontonians, even as cots sat empty at a temporary respite centre at the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place and other city sites.

Tory has called that mistake “indefensible.” Amid probes by senior city staff and Toronto’s ombudsman, he vowed Thursday that will not happen again.

“If people follow the procedure in terms of making an inquiry of us through direct visitation to the 129 Peter St. referral centre, or by calling 311, we can say that anyone who needs shelter in the city of Toronto will find that shelter, or we will find it for them,” the mayor said.

Environment Canada warned Thursday afternoon that overnight temperatures could plunge to minus 23C, with windchill making that feel like minus 36C.

Toronto considers opening armoury to house homeless

  Toronto considers opening armoury to house homeless Toronto is revisiting a shelved proposal to use a federal armoury to cope with unprecedented demand on its homeless shelter system, the city's mayor said Wednesday. John Tory and members of council had rejected a motion to open the Moss Park Armoury to the homeless last month, weeks before an extended cold snap gripped the city and dramatically increased demand for shelter spaces. As temperatures dropped to around -20 C for several nights and thousands of residents signed a petition calling on Tory to revisit the armoury proposal, the mayor initially said other city-owned properties presented better options.Tory reversed course on Wednesday.

While these locations are less easily accessible than the five warming centers across the county, Farr said a form of transportation may be provided to shuttle homeless residents to the day centers . Click to share on Twitter ( Opens in new window).

Two men try to keep warm in front of Old City Hall as passers-by make their way along Queen St. on Dec. Toronto has taken the unprecedented step of converting part of the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place into a round-the-clock winter refuge for homeless Torontonians.

The overnight low Friday is expected to be even colder, with the GTA finally getting some relief Sunday with a forecast high of minus 7C.

Efforts to open the armoury in east downtown continued Thursday afternoon with talks between city, provincial and federal officials.

Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management submitted a request to use the armoury, via the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, to the federal government.

Liberal MP Adam Vaughan said he expected a timely federal response to the city, which wants 24-7 access to the armoury for up to 100 cots until April 15.

“The city wanted an answer by 6 p.m. (Thursday) and there should be answer,” said the Spadina-Fort York MP, appointed last February to head an advisory committee on homeless issues. “The city has asked for 24-hour access and we’re trying to see how that might work. It may not be possible in the short term, say the next month, because of trying to move military personnel into different spots.

“Overnight is definitely workable in the short term and we’ll see where we go from there.”

How other cities help the homeless during extreme cold

  How other cities help the homeless during extreme cold How other cities help the homeless during extreme coldNew York City

Open this photo in gallery: A homeless person is seen in downtown Toronto , on Jan. 3, 2018. To cope with Thursday's imminent cold snap, however, Tory says Toronto has opted to open two additional short-term warming centres downtown that will be available to residents for the duration

The homeless in Toronto will have more options to stay warm this winter with the expansion of the city’s warming centres . “Our shelters are very busy and staff are working full-time on opening new shelters to address increases in demand before the end of the year, into 2018, and beyond,” said Paul

Provincial officials are also looking at buildings that could temporarily be used as shelter, Vaughan said.

Scott Bardsley, press secretary to federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, also struck an optimistic tone.

“The City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, and Government of Canada are working closely to identify and evaluate options,” he wrote in an email. “All three levels of government are focused on finding the most effective solution in the shortest possible timeframe.‎ ‎”

Officials say it could take a few days from the time agreement is reached before homeless Torontonians could actually be sleeping in the armoury or other sites identified.

Tory had earlier opposed activists’ calls to open Moss Park and an armoury at Fort York as a release valve for Toronto’s packed shelter system. He said he changed his mind when city staff said they expect demand to outstrip capacity at the Better Living Centre, where capacity was raised to 140 cots.

Toronto invites residents to help city win $50-million ‘Smart Cities’ prize .
The city wants Torontonians’ suggestions on how to win $50 million from the Canadian government for “smart city” projects.Ottawa recently launched the “Smart City Challenge,” a national competition to get municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities brainstorming ways to use data, sensors and other tech to improve people’s lives.Toronto is eligible for the top prize, “up to” $50 million, open to communities of all size. Communities with fewer than 500,000 people can also compete for two prizes of up to $10 million, while places with fewer than 30,000 residents can aim at a prize of up to $5 million. There will be another competition specific to Indigenous communities.

Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/canada/-58824-toronto-opens-two-new-warming-centres-for-homeless-residents/

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!