September 16, 2020
Homeless people in the pandemic have been left behind. In March, the city stopped posting overnight shelter statistics (an indicator of crowding and lack of vacancy) until the Toronto ombudsman office intervened and an agreement they would post weekly was achieved. The city’s reluctance to enforce physical distancing in shelters meant that a legal coalition had to take the city to court to enforce two-metre physical distancing of beds, cots and mats.
The city’s mask bylaw for indoor common spaces did not apply to shelters, and a mask policy for shelter residents was only announced September 4.
Even in death, homeless people are left behind. The last death statistic on the city website is for January 2020, and is only from the death in shelter data set.