Toronto turning more motels into homeless shelters
Toronto's remaining motels have seen better times. While rarely used as leisure destinations, a handful of these structures have been repurposed as monthly accommodations, some of which are subsidized by the city as a form of transitional housing for newcomers and those on waiting lists for other social housing. The practice dates back to the 1990s, and takes place in other North American cities as well.
Now, as cold weather has claimed the lives of two homeless people in recent days, the city will expand its use of motels to function as temporary homeless shelters during this deep freeze. According to councillor Joe Mihevc, about 90 additional beds will be opened up by the move. Long term shelter residents will be offered the motel rooms so as to free up space in downtown facilities.
The use of motels as transitional housing is not without its problems, but when used as a stop-gap measure rather than over an extended period, these under-occupied buildings become a valuable resource. There are roughly 15 motels left in Toronto, the majority of which are located in Scarborough since the demolition of the Lake Shore motel strip a few years ago.
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