It’s no surprise that the plunging temperatures are forcing more people to walk through the doors at the Alliston Out of the Cold Shelter on Paris Street, but so far the volunteer-run organization is keeping up with the demand.

“We are not at capacity but we’re are getting awfully close, and have managed to stay that way for quite some time now,” said shelter director Jeni Pergentile.

“We are hovering around the seven to nine mark for people staying with us, and our capacity is 12.”

Pergentile said the overnight shelter has been doing everything it can to help people escape the deep freeze, like extending its hours in the morning so users have a place to stay until other facilities in town open their doors.

As Ontario courts grapple with the case against the provincial government on basic income, the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice is reminding Catholics that Catholic social teaching demands society must provide an economic minimum that supports families and human dignity.

“The universal basic income idea is about giving people that fundamental human right to a just wage, which is totally in line with Catholic social teaching,” Jesuit Forum director Anne-Marie Jackson told The Catholic Register. “Money is like manure — it’s only good if you spread it around.”

That concept was put to the test in an Ontario court Jan. 28 as lawyers argued over the cancellation of Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot. The court has reserved judgment.

… Canada, the United States, and not-so-Great-these-days Britain. They are all run by people who pretend to work for the citizens but really do the opposite. Whatever they do to make things better always makes life worse. There’s a good article about them on The Guardian web site.

It’s an excerpt from a book by Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. The title gives a good clue to what it’s all about. It’s a good companion piece to another Guardian essay, The Trouble With Charitable Billionaires by Carl Rhodes and Peter Bloom, that appeared last May.

Shelters in the region are over capacity. The region used 30 hotel or motel rooms Monday night to accommodate the increase.

As Waterloo region remains under an extreme cold warning, the area’s shelters are being overwhelmed by people needing a warm place to sleep.

On Monday night, the region accommodated 270 people who needed a place to stay. Normally, it only has 195 fixed beds.

When shelters reach what the region calls “overflow,” an additional 45 beds are created. If that’s not enough, the region then puts people in four to five different motels.

The federal government is planning to spend an additional $114.7 million to compensate provinces and municipalities for temporary housing costs for asylum seekers.

The money is part of $2.5 billion in new spending plans tabled late Monday as part of the government’s supplementary estimates.

The financial document says the influx of irregular migrants entering Canada has increased pressure on provinces to provide shelter and social services.

Data from the City of Toronto shows occupancy at local shelters and overnight centres has been above its 90% limit for years.

Advocates note that overcrowding and dangerous living conditions at Toronto shelters has contributed to a crisis that has taken the lives of over 140 homeless people in the last 18 months.

That’s why many are calling on the City to start treating conditions at shelters as an emergency situation.