City Evicts Encampment Residents Despite Subzero Temperatures and Full Shelters

Press Conference and Survival Supply Drive

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022, 10AM

Homeless Memorial, Church of the Holy Trinity, 19 Trinity Square, Toronto, ON


Despite dangerously cold temperatures and a dire shortage of housing and emergency shelter the City is continuing to confiscate tents and personal belongings in Allan Gardens. An average of 168 people in need of shelter are turned away each day due to bed shortages. Countless others have lost hope and no longer try to access a bed. 


People are sleeping in parks in the freezing cold because they have nowhere else to go. Tents and sleeping bags are resources needed to survive freezing temperatures. Displacing encampment residents and confiscating equipment is a violent act that threatens the safety of those who are homeless.

Recent closure of 251 beds at the Novotel hotel-shelter, along with cuts to key programs such as drop-ins, housing support workers and eviction support programs have left people with fewer options for shelter and less supports to exit homelessness. Warming centers only open when temperatures fall below -15C, and the 112 available spaces are not enough to meet the need.

In response to shelter shortages an additional 500 sleeping spaces have been crammed into existing congregate settings. Crowded congregate shelters have poor conditions and frequent infectious disease outbreaks making them unsafe for many people. 


We call on the City of Toronto to immediately:

1. Stop the eviction of encampment residents. Stop confiscating survival gear.
2. Add an additional 2,700 non-congregate spaces to the shelter system. Keep all existing shelter hotels open.

3. Until the need for non-congregate shelter is met keep Warming Centres open all winter, regardless of the temperature outside.

4. Collaborate with provincial and federal governments to build rent geared-to-income social housing in Toronto: 10,000 units immediately to address homelessness and 90,000 units to address the growing waitlist.


The extreme shortage of emergency shelter and affordable housing is leaving hundreds of people outside in the cold. Let’s tell City Council to stop the violence against encampment residents and protect our right to safe shelter!

Join us December 20th at 10AM at the Homeless Memorial for a Press Conference and Survival Supply Drive!


We will be collecting donations of tents, sleeping bags and warm clothing (water-resistant coats, gloves, hats, hoodies, track pants, long johns, thermal socks) 

For more information contact:

Sharing –  Regarding the clearing of encampment at Allan gardens post-election!


Dear Chris Moise,

As the frontrunning candidate to be the Councillor for Ward 13, Toronto Centre, we are asking what steps you will take to prevent the forced eviction of encampment residents from Allan Gardens after the election.

Saint Luke’s United Church, under the leadership of Rev. Jim Keenan, and the Out of the Cold Meal Program at Saint Luke’s have extended their pastoral care and community inclusion to our neighbours living across the street from the church.

We have developed a strong bond with these wonderful community members. We provide counselling, hot meals, water, clothing, harm reduction supplies, the use of our washrooms, as well as art and yoga classes.

We are witnessing a humanitarian disaster. People are being forced to live outside because the shelters are full. In the month of September on average 170 people per night were turned away from Toronto shelters. We know this number is much higher as people no longer call in for shelter beds having being denied them for two or more years.

Where will our friends go after they are evicted? The City has contracted guards to patrol the parks forcing people to scatter into remote places such as ravines, or ride public transit until it closes, others will be put into perpetual motion as they wander the City. These people will all be isolated and cut off from their support and social networks resulting in more suffering and deaths.

Forced eviction can never be a substitute for housing. However, it does inflict violence and trauma on the victims of the City’s failed housing policies.

If elected, we ask that you commit to doing everything possible to prevent forced evictions in the Ward and to be present to support our neighbours when these violent acts occur.

This violent act of displacement is imminent and we ask for your immediate response.


Rev. Jim Keenan
Minister, Saint Luke’s U.C.,
Co-coordinator, the Out of the Cold Meal Program, Saint Luke’s U.C.

Rafi Aaron
Co-coordinator, the Out of the Cold Meal Program, Saint Luke’s U.C.,
Spokesperson, The Interfaith Coalition To Fight Homelessness