Thursday, January 20th
129 Peter Street (at Richmond)
Shelters are full. The City has stopped answering the phone or keeps people on hold for long periods when people try to call to access a shelter spot. COVID is sweeping through the system. Meanwhile, the City has cut recovery beds down to 60. COVID positive people who are sick and want a bed have been forced to sleep out in the cold. Multiple people die due to overdose each month. Encampment residents are criminalized.
We commend the City of Toronto for announcing its plan to distribute N95 masks to shelter residents and make rapid tests available. We are also glad to see emergency space opened in community centres. However, it will only be a small percentage of the more than 2,300 beds that are urgently needed. Further, congregate must only be an emergency measure on the way to opening more non-congregate beds – mats or cots on the floor are not real beds and COVID is airborne. Unfortunately, the shelter system is in such crisis that these measures are nowhere near enough.
Come out on Thursday and tell the City:
✓ Provide residents N95 masks – not just workers.
✓ Access to Rapid Tests.
- Increase capacity of the COVID recovery program to at least 200 beds.
- Immediately incorporate 2,250 permanent, non-congregate shelter beds into the system.
- Repeal the ‘no camping’ bylaw.
- Extend shelter-hotel leases.
- Distribute at least 3,000 new housing allowances to unhoused people in 2022 and make them available to all unhoused people.
- Freeze all evictions with the powers of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
- Broaden the emergency weather system to respond to real world conditions (as per the Winter Plan).
- Expand overdose prevention, education, training, and response and implement the recommendations of the Toronto Shelter-Hotel Overdose Preparedness Assessment Project.
- Implement COVID-19 indoor air quality safety measures and ensure full transparency & public reporting about each shelter site.
- Implement all of the recommendations from the SHJN Winter Plan.
We are meeting at 129 Peter Street the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre – because it the manifestation of the collapsed system. It used to be open 24 hours a day to for people to stay at as they waited for a bed. It is now closed to in person intake and referrals and open only in extreme cold weather.
Come listen to a panel of speakers talk about the crisis in the system and what needs to be done about it.
Please bring survival supplies if you can. These include: warm winter clothing, camping gear (tents, tarps, insulated sleeping pads, hunting pillows/seats), cell phones/phone cards, rapid COVID-19 test kits, aerosol protective masks (N95, KN95), coffee/food/grocery gift cards. Make sure all items are clean and in good condition.
Wear a mask, please socially distance, be COVID responsible, and dress warmly.