In early 2019, Bedford MacDonald House saw an average of 53 bed occupancies per month. In late spring, those numbers started to jump.

“Now we’ve seen the uptake numbers to be about 365 per month. So it’s dramatically increased, and as such it puts strain and stress on the house as well,” said residential manager Mike Redmond.

With all the beds typically filled, Redmond said the shelter has to turn a few dozen people away each month.

“It’s certainly not something we want to do, but you can only put so many men in one house, and it’s a situation that tells you the state of society today.”

In June, 2019, Toronto’s Auditor General, Beverly Romeo-Beehler published an audit on Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing. According to her report, entitled “Opening Doors to Stable Housing, ” there are 1,400 vacant RGI bachelor and one- and two-bedroom apartments in buildings owned by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and Toronto’s not-for-profit subsidized housing providers. In fact, Romeo-Beehler cites the TCHC primary vacancy rate as 2.29%, more than double that of the 2019 market primary vacancy rate of 1.1%.

Of those 1,400 vacant units, 140 are being used by contractors to store construction materials and tools, and as onsite offices. Some are being used to facilitate tenant participation programs. Others still are being used by various community organizations. To add insult to injury, not-for-profit housing providers still receive the subsidized portion of the rent from the City of Toronto even for vacant units, costing taxpayers $7 million in unnecessary rent subsidy payments in 2018.

A staple of many eastern Ontario conversations is the lack of housing — an issue that Global News highlighted two weeks ago, when a couple told their story of how they were forced to call a small trailer in a major grocery store parking lot in Belleville, Ont., home after they say rent became too high.

Now, those living without a fixed address 160 kilometres east in Brockville Ont., are urging local politicians to help.

“I don’t have a place to call home, I have no help, and I can’t afford rent, so where do I go?” said a Brockville woman who wanted to stay anonymous.

I’m driven to this rambling analogy by the sudden eruption of “affordability” as the key issue in our coming election. Where did it come from? It’s not just one party, it’s everyone, as if there’s a secret committee.

Why do I hate the term? Let me count the ways. It’s sheer euphemism. It’s like calling torture “discomfort.” It’s like someone kidnapping you, swiping your home and all that matters to you, dropping you in a wilderness, and saying you have an affordabililty problem. You sort of do, among other things. But what a way to neuter an explosive subject, privatizing it into your personal problem, versus the culpability of others for mugging you over the last 40 years.

Christopher Paul hasn’t felt a police officer tapping at his foot in more than a month — the tap, tap, tap that usually meant he was about to get another citation that he was never going to pay.

Living on the streets for five years after he lost his graphic design job, Paul has been having undisturbed nights since the Austin City Council and mayor eased restrictions on “public camping” this summer, a move that liberal lawmakers billed as a humane and pragmatic reform of the criminal justice system. But the change has drawn the ire of Republicans and local business owners who decry it as a threat to public safety and the local economy, exposing a partisan clash over how to manage poverty and affordable housing in America’s cities.

The mayor and some city councillors said they have received significant feedback on a winter overnight homeless shelter proposed for the basement of the United Church on Mackenzie Avenue — before the consultation on the plans has officially started.

The plan is to build a 10-bed shelter in the basement of the church, which is located at the corner of Mackenzie Avenue and Third Street. It is proposed to be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and would operate from Nov. 1 to Mar. 31. Guests would be served basic meals and would receive toiletries and bedding.

The idea is not new; the concept for an overnight shelter during the winter months has been in the background for a few years as organizers sought a suitable location.

Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan wrote the following open letter this week to the federal minister responsible for social development.

The situation for the over 2,200 people who do not have a home in Vancouver is severe. Many people have no access to daytime shelter, and hundreds of people have no overnight shelter option and are forced to sleep on the street. The situation becomes even more alarming when you consider that many of these individuals face serious health conditions, a mental illness or must manage a chronic disease, and are trying to survive with no income, or on a fixed income that does not meet basic daily needs like food and medicine.