People who are homeless are not simply begging for change, as in loonies or toonies. In Toronto they are also begging for real help, evident by this man’s sign on his belongings at a busy intersection in downtown Toronto:
“Sick and homeless. I need help.”
Advocates and front-line workers are also calling for city officials and the mayor to provide radical change to how they respond to mass homelessness. Recommendations include the fast tracking of new emergency shelters (it now takes, on average, 18 months to open one), the immediate opening of a federal armoury for shelter, and expansion of low-barrier 24 hour warming/cooling centres that meet shelter standards.
Over the last year, a broad range of people have diligently deputed, petitioned and orchestrated meetings with senior shelter bureaucrats, making the case that the city must deal with homelessness as a social welfare disaster.
There are several indications that Toronto is fed up with City Hall and Mayor Tory’s inaction.