toronto homeless housing

Toronto man signs lease after living under Gardiner Expressway

A Toronto man who was recently living in an encampment under the Gardiner Expressway has just signed a lease to his new apartment.

According to the City of Toronto, local resident Karl, found himself without options after being released from jail and was living under the highway when he was approached by Street Outreach Counsellors.

Telling the counsellors his story, Karl discussed his history with substance use, struggles to find employment and how he lost his IDs and other personal belongings.

The two counsellor worked alongside Karl to get all the proper documents to qualify for a home through the city's Rapid Rehousing Initiative and now Karl just signed a lease for a bachelor apartment in the community he grew up in.

Karl's story is a testament to the work that the city is responsible for doing to support those experiencing homelessness.

But many people claimed the city was using Karl's story for publicity as ongoing debates occur at city council to keep warming centres open 24/7 until the spring. 

While around 4,300 people were moved from the shelter system to permanent housing last year, that's not even half of the total population experiencing homelessness.

According to The Homeless Hub there are approximately 18,096 unhoused residents on in our city.

Advocates across the city are currently demanding the city keep warming centres open 24/7 until mid-April, an essential service that literally keeps people from freezing to death, a recco from the city's board of health.

Only when an extreme cold weather alert is declared does the city open warming centres, which is labelled as being -15 C or colder or a windchill of - 20 or colder. According to the city's own data, 110 people died in the shelter system last year.

Advocates also want Mayor John Tory to label homelessness a public health crisis and immediately expanded support services.

This matter is scheduled to be discussed (and debated) on the morning of Feb. 8.

Lead photo by

City of Toronto

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