Toronto homeless dying


700 names new total at the Toronto Homeless Memorial

Toronto sees 8 homeless die since New Year

32 were found dead on city streets in 2012

On Thursday 7 March OCAP will occupy Metro Hall as an emergency shelter

01 March 2013 TORONTO The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) plans to occupy Metro Hall as an emergency centre to relieve overcrowded homeless centres in Toronto.

A representative of OCAP said that "The City of Toronto refuses to admit that the homeless shelter system is in a lethal crisis of overcrowding.

"By the City's own admission, homeless shelters are operating at 96% capacity. This represents conditions of such overcrowding and tension that people are being forced onto the streets and lives are being lost. Every effort has been made to convince both the administration and politicians to act and open an emergency facility but we have been met with steadfast refusal. City Council refused even to debate the issue when this was proposed by Councillor Adam Vaughan."

In 1999, the Council of the day voted to give Hostel Services the right to open more space whenever the capacity in the shelters exceeded 90%. Indeed, during that year, Metro Hall was opened for three weeks as a shelter so that the pressure on the rest of the system could be eased.

"Yet, today, under the Rob Ford administration, fully committed to an agenda of austerity, an even worse situation is being dismissed and the line coming from the City is to deny the crisis."

There have been at least 8 homeless deaths since the beginning of 2013, and 34 deaths in 2012 alone. At the beginning of February the 700th name was added to the Toronto Homeless Memorial.

"If the City will not act then we will," said the OCAP representative On March 7, we are going back to Metro Hall to open it as a shelter and we are appealing for the broadest support in order to make this happen.

"We will be mobilizing homeless people who need shelter to join us that day but we also ask unions, community organizations, church congregations and people of conscience to come and stand with us for the basic human right to shelter.

"If you are someone who does not wish to live in a city where people are abandoned to die on the streets, then join us on March 7. If you wish to donate sleeping bags or other supplies, call our office. If your organization would like to help build this event, if you would like us to come and talk to you or just need more information to make an informed choice, then contact us by calling (416) 925-6939 or by e mail at