January 13th, 2022

Doug Ford nowhere to be seen as crisis unfolds in Toronto shelters

TORONTO — The NDP MPP for Beaches-East York Rima Berns-McGown, critic for Poverty and Homelessness, released the following statement calling on the Ford government to provide urgent help to the city's homeless shelters, which are currently in crisis as COVID tears through them:

"Toronto is seeing a humanitarian crisis unfolding in our shelter system, with hundreds of reported cases of COVID-19 and dozens of active outbreaks.

People experiencing homelessness and shelter staff are scared and getting sick; unhoused people are being told to 'isolate,' a literal impossibility in a congregate setting. Shelters are overwhelmed and staff are reporting higher-than-usual call volumes. Individuals are being forced to make impossible choices between potentially catching COVID or staying outside and freezing.

Yet Doug Ford is nowhere to be seen. It's not too late for this government to step up and provide emergency assistance to our shelters; like expanding available spaces for unhoused people to shelter, emergency spaces for individuals who contract COVID-19 to safely isolate, providing PPE to staff and shelter clients, and setting up low-barrier vaccine clinics.

Unhoused people are not disposable. They desperately need help, and they need it now."