On December 6, about 200 anti-poverty activists and members of the community turned up for council’s vote on opening up more shelter spaces after the Community Development and Recreation Committee voted to ask Mayor John Tory to declare an emergency in the shelter system and open up the Moss Park and Fort York armouries. The committee’s recommendations to council included adding 1,000 new shelter spaces.

It was the city’s poverty reduction advocate, Councillor Joe Mihevc, who tabled the motion at committee on November 20. So there was hope that finally a system beleaguered by years of overcrowding would finally get some relief.

At council, however, Mihevc supported a proposal put forward by Tory to add 400 beds to existing shelters and take the opening of armouries off the table.