Mayor Tory to provide update on city’s homelessness services, shelter expansion plan

Toronto Mayor John Tory will provide an update today about the city’s homelessness services and shelter expansion plan.

This comes after complaints about the lack of adequate shelter for the homeless prompted both the city and its ombudsman to launch formal investigations.

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As temperatures reached as low as minus-30 with the wind chill in recent days, advocates say they tried to find spots for homeless people in some of the city’s 62 shelters only to be told that they were completely full.

READ MORE: Toronto ombudsman investigating ‘confusion’ over shelter spaces, winter programs for homeless

The city has said there are still beds available for the homeless and blamed miscommunication for the confusion.

Paul Raftis, the city’s general manager of shelter support, says he has asked staff to review the intake process and communication — in particular the accuracy real-time information about shelter bed availability.

Raftis said he is working with city ombudsman Susan Opler on the situation.

READ MORE: Space available at shelters overnight, City of Toronto says

Opler says her office will begin an inquiry that will focus on the winter needs of the homeless and whether the city is providing services in a way that ensures people’s dignity, safety and comfort.

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