Amidst heat warnings from Environment Canada and the City of Toronto, advocates for the homeless are calling on the city to extend the hours of its cooling centres to provide more relief from the blistering temperatures.

With Saturday’s temperature hitting a high of 35.4 C, setting a record for June 30, outreach workers who deal with the city’s most vulnerable populations say more needs to be done to help people experiencing homelessness beat the heat.

That includes making more of its seven cooling centres 24-hour-day operations. Currently, only the cooling centre at Metro Hall operates by these hours.

The Red Roof homeless shelter – one of the oldest in Montreal – may have to shutter its doors in the coming days due to a lack of funding.

“The current financial state is dire,” explained George Greene of St. Michael’s Mission. “Our expenses have gone through the roof – the demands from the client base are definitely high right now.

In the past few weeks, two large donors inexplicably pulled their support from the shelter, and money is fast running out.

A Charlottetown woman on social assistance who gets $400 worth of Boost every month wonders why she can’t convert some of the liquid drink vouchers into dollars for groceries.

Crystal Kennedy, 34, stands about five feet, two inches tall and weighs a mere 90 pounds.

Kennedy has seen her weight plummet by roughly 30 pounds since being diagnosed about two years ago with fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue and chronic muscle pain.

For the past two years, the government has been picking up the tab for Boost nutrition drinks that were prescribed by Kennedy’s doctor.

A new report is presenting a “very sobering reality check” as the Kenora federal riding has the seventh highest child poverty rate in Canada.

Kenora District Services Board CAO Henry Wall said the fact Kenora has the seventh highest rate out of 338 federal ridings “should be an alarm to our federal government, but also to our new provincial government.”

In the Campaign 2000 press release that accompanied the report, the data shows “a disturbing picture” of the extent of child poverty across the country.

I was in a meeting the other day with a variety of community leaders and stakeholders. Participants were trying to figure out a way to clean up a particular area of downtown that has a lot of issues with individuals who are homeless urinating in it.

I was horrified at how much thought was put in to how we can further make things difficult for already marginalized people, rather than simply ensuring people had access to bathrooms. So, with this in mind I hope to encourage a dialogue about meeting basic needs in our community as a real, and more humane, solution.

There’s a breaking point coming in Toronto and no one seems to have any idea what will happen when it does.

The city’s shelter system, overwhelmed by a two-year migrant surge, has gone past full and blown through bulging. It exists now somewhere east of burst beyond repair.

The city simply cannot take any more, Mayor John Tory said Tuesday, without significant help from the province and the federal government.

“We have exhausted our available sites, our resources and our personnel,” Tory said. “We need the other levels of government to step up and assist Toronto.”