The federal government is giving Toronto $15 million to help address mounting demand on the city’s shelter system as it faces the added pressures of refugee claimants. It’s the latest injection of funding since Ottawa committed $11 million last summer.

In a news release Friday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada acknowledged that while affordable temporary housing has been a “key challenge in Toronto for some time,” the impacts of global migration have placed the system under greater strain over the past year.

The release went on to say that provincial governments are still “best placed” to distribute funding for housing pressures and wants to see a cost-sharing agreement with Ontario to help tackle the pressures on the system.

Dartmouth’s homeless population will no longer have to sleep out in the cold, thanks to a new emergency shelter.

The shelter — located in Sonlife Community Church’s gymnasium — will provide year-round emergency accommodation. It will have 15 beds, positioned in a dorm style arrangement, and will take in men, women and children. Beds will be stored away during the day and brought back in at night.

Although the church is providing the space, the shelter will be run by a newly formed non-profit group, the Dartmouth Shelter Society. The group was founded by Warren Wesson.

Troy J. Young: Housing is a human right. Our politicians apply lip service and declare that they care. Yet they have declared that tents under the Gardiner are esthetically displeasing and the safety of the homeless is paramount. The solution is to evict them. To go where?

June Mewhort: I could understand if the city’s shelters were empty, but at 93-per-cent capacity, they are obviously not the solution yet. Surely the city could wait until the new promised shelters are open before putting more of the homeless in harm’s way.

A homeless shelter for women is opening its doors in Charlottetown Friday night.

The community organization Blooming House has been working to raise money to open a shelter since last spring. Earlier this month, it announced $60,000 in funding from the provincial government, and the loan of a house, rent free, by a local church.

The location is temporary until a permanent shelter can be set up, said co-founder Liz Corney. She said the location opening now will operate until April 30, and will be open to any woman in need of a warm place to stay for the night.

In 1998 the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee declared homelessness a national disaster. Toronto City Council and municipalities across the country made the same statement.

We won a federal homelessness program but not a national housing program. Despite the federal Liberal government’s promises of a National Housing Strategy, homelessness has worsened in nearly every community across the country. It remains a disaster and Toronto is the epicentre. There is not one crane hovering over Toronto’s skyline that is there for social housing.

… But despite chronic overcrowding at shelters, the mayor is refusing to open Toronto’s armouries for emergency use. He refused to open them during another January cold snap last year. It took 56,000 signatures on a petition to get Tory to change his mind.

Maybe the mayor should pay a visit to the encampments to understand the unnecessary human suffering that most of us only see from our car window – and that the city has a moral obligation to address.

City councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam and Gord Perks asked city council to declare Toronto’s homelessness and housing crisis a state of emergency during a press conference at City Hall on Jan. 22.

Wong-Tam and Perks, who represent Wards 13 and 4 respectively, gave a list of five recommendations to address the crisis to city council’s Planning and Housing Committee.They requested support from all three levels of government.

“We want to acknowledge the conditions of housing that exist in Toronto right now as being untenable,” Wong-Tam said. “The solutions that we have used in the past to address homelessness are failing.”