Last February Pierre Gregoire died in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant from a suspected fentanyl overdose. He ended up there after being told there was no room for him at a downtown drop-in centre. He was only 28.
Sadly, Gregoire isn’t the only person who gets turned away from the city’s shelter system.
Despite adding 1,288 more beds to the system since this time last year, the shelters are consistently facing occupancy rates well above the 90-per-cent rate the city has determined means they are full and there is a risk of homeless people being turned away.
And if last month is any indication, the situation is only going to get worse this winter. City officials say there was a 30-per-cent increase in the number of people using the shelter system in November over the year before, partly because of an increase in refugee claimants.