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Mayor says 400 new shelter beds needed to combat ‘challenging situation’

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 4th, 2017

A homeless man sits with his dog on a street in Montreal, Tuesday, December 2, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Sunday that the city will open 400 new homeless shelter beds to combat an urgent need for housing during the winter.

The plan will increase the number of beds in current shelters and use additional motel rooms in the city to house families and individuals.

Tory said in a statement that some of the beds would be ready in a matter of days, and all 400 should be available in the coming weeks.

The extra spaces are estimated to cost $10 million, which will be coming out of the city’s rainy day funds according to Tory.

The city expects to have 5,651 beds available by the end of the year, over 1,000 more than what it offered two years ago.

Tory also announced that the city would be expediting the construction of three new permanent homeless shelters, which will now open next year instead of in 2019 as previously scheduled.

“We cannot simply do nothing, we must take decisive action,” Tory said during a press conference. “I’m confident that council is gong to join me in taking decisive action so that we’re underway with the odds to find those shelters, we’re underway in the discussion with those motels to create that capacity.”

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