Jacob Argintaru | Report

The city has given homeless living in tent cities under the Gardner Expressway in Downtown Toronto two weeks to pack up their things and leave.

The city made the decision based on bylaws that prohibit individuals from placing tents and other structures on city property.

Toronto’s chief communications officer Brad Ross also says that the tent cities have a number of safety issues, like many of the tents being heated by propane which could cause fires and emit carbon monoxide.

Ross claims that ultimately, the city “want[s] to make sure that [homeless] have proper shelter.” However, Cathy Crowe, activist and street nurse, says that “there’s nowhere for people to go.”

Tent cities are nothing new, but have been growing in size recently due to lack of space in homeless shelters.

Crowe claims that the city does not provide sufficient space for homeless to sleep, pointing to the record-number of people using 24-hour respite centres as shelters are full.

“People are doing measures like this because they’re trying to survive,” she said. “So they’re here in encampments. Some people try to survive by staying outside.”

Toronto’s homeless shelters have been struggling with capacity for the past year as a result of Canada’s recent influx of migrants.

In April of last year, the city reported that approximately one in four of those using homeless shelters were asylum seekers, and that number is only expected to grow in 2019.


More details to follow | Image of tent under Gardner Expressway, from CBC.

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