Angela Gibson feels fortunate to have a bed in a Toronto homeless shelter.

“People are being turned away,” Gibson, told the Star one day before Wednesday’s emotional city council debate on how city officials respond to an ongoing surge in demand for beds that has shelters, drop-ins and respite centres bursting at the seams.

Before she into an emergency shelter Gibson, 54, relied on Sistering drop-in, where women sleep in chairs or mats on the floor. Sistering felt safe, but is chaotic and those women need proper beds, she said.

“It is just being in an atmosphere of overcrowding in and of itself can cause lots of issues,” including illness and violence, because of mental health issues and women dealing with trauma and little to no privacy, said Gibson.