On a Wednesday night recently, some 1,030 people stayed at drop-ins, respite centres, places of worship and temporary warming facilities in Toronto in an effort to survive. A further 6,899 people stayed in shelter beds.

They had to negotiate long lines, ID checks, arbitrary sleeping-mat lotteries, waiting lists and being put on hold in order to secure a small heated space for themselves.

Hundreds more homeless Torontonians rode TTC buses all night, huddled in a 24-hour Tim Hortons or crawled into sleeping bags beneath soaring bridges on the windswept waterfront. All of them made impossible decisions.