Outside the meeting room, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam joined providers of services to homeless Torontonians to demand a stronger city response to an ongoing crisis in capacity and unsafe conditions.

Wong-Tam said she plans to make a motion to open 1,000 beds this year at council. She noted that on Dec. 6, council rejected her similar proposal but then had to scramble to ramp up the city’s response when extreme cold strained the already overtaxed shelter system.

“This is so critical because it is a life-and-death situation,” she said. “I hope that city council will not make the same mistake on Feb. 12 as they did on Dec. 6.”

As city officials discuss the 2018 budget at an executive committee meeting, Toronto anti-poverty advocates are demanding a further 1,500 permanent beds be added to the shelter system this year to address the needs of the homeless.

Toronto frontline agencies and advocates say the city’s current plan to add 361 new beds in 2018 isn’t sufficient, calling it “dangerous and unacceptable.”

I’m sure you’ve seen the guy who sits in front of the garbage cans at Guy-Concordia metro, with his “Kindness is not a weakness” sign leaning next to him and a perpetually empty Tim Horton’s cup at his feet. He’s there everyday, quietly asking for change or a meal.

Around Remembrance Day, another man appeared in the metro station to collect donations and give out poppies. In a surprising twist, the people who never before had change in their pockets for the man begging everyday were able to produce quarters and loonies for the poppies.

Most people rarely give money to panhandlers and are uncomfortable having homeless people loitering in public places. When fewer homeless people are visible, we don’t ask questions about where they went—we are just relieved the metro station is a little calmer. So it’s not a surprise to me that Montreal has anti-homeless infrastructure, because it teaches us that homelessness is best kept out of sight and out of mind. But problems don’t go away by ignoring them.

BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Over 400,000 British Columbians work for less than $15 per hour—or 22 per cent of all paid employees in the province. The majority of these workers are women (59 per cent) aged 20 years old and over (78 per cent) and work full-time (54 per cent). Most are full-time adult workers and are likely to experience poor health based on their low income status. There is no question that BC’s current minimum wage contributes to BC’s high poverty rate of 14.8 per cent in 2015—the highest in Canada. Although we live in a wealthy province, BC leads the country in working poverty.

Catching families just before they head to an emergency shelter — and providing them some intensive help — prevented most from falling into homelessness over the long term, a new London study has found.

At least 90 per cent of families offered help through the novel research project remained housed 18 months later, the study by the Lawson Research Institute, Western University, the city of London and Mission Services of London concluded.

“They did fantastic. It is a very good news story,” lead researcher Cheryl Forchuk said Monday as the results were released.

The provincial government has appointed a 12-member Poverty Reduction Advisory Council with the goal to reduce poverty’s impact in P.E.I.

The council’s mandate is to look at short and long-term solutions to address poverty, as well as engaging the public, and various groups.

“We have a strong group of diverse individuals and I’m really looking forward to working with them,” said advisory council chair Roxanne Carter-Thompson. “The council will play a very important role in developing the provincial action plan focusing on housing, food, education, employment, community capacity building, and health.”

The renewed version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to lift poor people is holding its first national mobilization, with actions and events planned Monday in 32 states and the nation’s capital.

Poor people, clergy and activists in the Poor People’s Campaign plan to deliver letters to politicians in state capitol buildings demanding that leaders confront what they call systemic racism evidenced in voter suppression laws and poverty rates.