toronto tiny shelters

People living in Toronto's banned tiny shelters share how they've changed their lives

Khaleel Seivwright has been making tiny insulated shelters for those experiencing homelessness in Toronto for months now.

The 2x6 structures that are made with the same standard insulation you'd have in your house, and come complete with a smoke and carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher in each, have been met with plenty of support and over $200k in donations.

While there's been pushback from the City of Toronto, which banned the structures from city property and even removed some, Seivwright says the majority of them are still being used by people.

A recent video made by Seivwright with help from a team creating a documentary on the Toronto Tiny Shelters helps give an idea of how they're really helping, and shares testimonials from those living in them.

Eight different people speak in the video, with one person sharing that the shelter that comes with a lockable latch on the inside has helped them keep their chronic pain medication from being stolen.

Another individual says, "I think it's the best thing that's happened to the city of Toronto. Without [these shelters] people would be dropping left right and centre." 

Seivwright, who himself slept in one of these self-made shelters one winter while living in Vancouver to help against -15 degree weather conditions, hopes that the video will help encourage the City of Toronto to find a way to work together.

"There's a definite disconnect about the reality that these people are facing. To say that sleeping in a tent or just on the ground or on a park bench is better or safer is just incorrect," he told blogTO.

"[These shelters are] not better than being in housing, but for these people that are waiting to get into housing, this is protecting them." 

He says the video has been met with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.

"I feel like, for a lot of people that have donated, it's hard for them to tell what difference these shelters are making for people but with this video now they have a pretty good idea," Seivwright told blogTO. "It feels good for people to know that."

Lead photo by

Toronto Tiny Shelters


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