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RSS FeedsCharity hands out $450,000 in cold-weather supplies as Toronto shelters near capacity
(The Star Theatre)


14 january 2018 03:16:42

Charity hands out $450,000 in cold-weather supplies as Toronto shelters near capacity
(The Star Theatre)

A local charity distributed almost $500,000 worth of sleeping bags, clothing and other necessities to Toronto’s homeless this weekend, but organizers said that meets only a fraction of the demand as shelters continue to be overwhelmed by the extreme cold this winter. Engage and Change’s founder Jody Steinhauer told a crowded warehouse of more than 100 volunteers Saturday that in her almost 20 years running the charity, she’s never seen shelters and service agencies scramble so desperately for supplies. “Three out of five days this week, we received calls from respite and emergency shelters in a panic that the number (of clients) was twice as much as they’d anticipated,” Steinhauer said. “We had to rush supplies down.” Margaret’s Housing and Community Support Services, which runs three respite centres in Toronto, were packed this week with people needing a place to stay, said manager Greg Rogers. He called Engage and Change for help and they delivered 74 blankets in 25 hours.“(This winter has) exceeded what we expected, and there’s way more people on the streets than anybody expected,” Rogers said. “But the homeless don’t need your sympathy. They need your help.” Moss Park Armoury was near capacity Saturday after it opened as an extra shelter space last week. Meanwhile, Toronto Public Health extended an extreme cold weather alert as temperatures dropped to -25 C with the wind chill. Patricia Anderson, manager of partnership development for the city’s shelter, support and housing administration, told the Star in an email that there were 103 people in the armoury around midday. She said numbers have been at or near capacity as people come and go each hour. Staff at Moss Park Armoury helped moved people to beds at Birchmount Residence, Seaton House and New Hope Leslieville, which opened on Jan. 11 as a shelter for men, Anderson said. Two warming centres were also opened ...
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