The province, the municipality and the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia (AHANS) together opened three temporary shelters at the end of March as existing shelters reduced their capacity in order to follow physical distancing guidelines.

The temporary shelters had capacity for a total of 100 people.

Residents at two of the pop-up shelters moved into hotels in April and the sites were closed. The lone remaining pop-up, in the gymnasium of Citadel High School, is now housing 25 men — but not for much longer.

Jim Graham is the director of AHANS, which has been operating the pop-ups. He said the looming deadline for finding another way to house the residents of the pop-up shelter is creating a sense of “panic.”

The province of B.C. has bought the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for about $15 million to add to its stock of temporary supportive housing for people without homes in Victoria.

It’s the second Victoria hotel B.C. has purchased this year to provide housing. Last month, it announced it had spent $18.5 million to buy the Comfort Inn and Suites at 3020 Blanshard St., which houses 93 people.

According to a 2018 Toronto Street Needs Assessment, there were 533 “rough sleepers” in Toronto — that is to say, those homeless Torontonians who would rather sleep outdoors than stay in the overcrowded shelter system. However, well known street nurse, activist, and author Cathy Crowe estimates there could currently be between 1,000 to 1,500 individuals sleeping either on the streets or in homeless encampments.

If Crowe is right, what explains the nearly threefold increase?

We call on you to follow the advice of international health experts by immediately ending the dismantling of homeless encampments and open up vacant housing units or hotel rooms for homeless people. Moving forward, we further call on you not to worsen the already pre-COVID shelter crisis by implementing deadly austerity measures; rather, to have the foresight to recognize low income housing as an urgent health need and create more units.

Community meals are back on the table in Newmarket, thanks to a newly formed group and a $7,330 Local Love grant from United Way Greater Toronto.

Beginning today, June 1 and running to July 23, a partnership between Concerned Citizens for the Homeless in Newmarket and seasonal homeless shelter, Inn from the Cold, will offer free, hot take-out meals from the Penrose Street facility on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m.

On Saturday May 30, 2020, in large red letters in the Toronto Star’s Insight section, the question is asked: “Is the time ripe for a basic income?”

Beside the headline, some supposedly provocative figures are mashed together:

“$2000 – Monthly amount of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

$151.7 billion – Total emergency spending to date including $40 billion to 8 million on CERB

$86 billion – Estimated annual cost of a basic income the last time it was looked at

$260 billion – Revised estimated deficit, $8 billion higher than last reported.”

I think what the headline and the numbers are trying to acknowledge is that, as a nation, we suddenly agreed with the idea of handing out large amounts of money to our residents who lost income because of the COVID19 crisis. We also proved that it was possible to pay out that amount of money quickly.

A Toronto shelter for people experiencing homelessness has closed for two weeks after COVID-19 killed two men who were staying there and infected 18 others.

Executive director Bob Duff says St. Simon’s shelter, located near Bloor and Sherbourne streets, shut down last week after the results came in from an on-site test of all residents.

“More than a third tested positive, and they were all asymptomatic,” Duff told CBC News. A staff member was also found to have COVID-19.