Anti-poverty advocates gathered Aug. 19 at Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto — a part of town that has seen its share of poverty — to protest the gentrification of the city’s downtown at the same time as homelessness is on the rise and affordable housing, on the decline.

“I don’t think it’s come as a surprise to anyone that we’re in the midst of a housing crisis,” said Yogi Atcharya of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, who organized the noon-hour rally and barbecue. “The city’s own number say that there has been a crisis in homelessness that is in an unrelenting upswing since 2012. There are record numbers of homeless death. We’re in the midst of an opioid crisis, so it’s a really dark time for a lot of people and particularly homeless people.”

The rally, said Atcharya, is a part of a larger campaign that OCAP is embarking on to highlight the city’s housing crisis. The group will be rallying again in October and once more on the National Day of Housing in November.