Toronto’s shelter system is failing, putting the health and safety of the city’s most vulnerable at risk. Since 2015, the use of shelters in the city has increased by 19 per cent, yet funding has stagnated, facilities are often at capacity and, as a result, every night hundreds of people are unable to find a bed.

Some who are turned away end up sleeping on the street, risking their lives. Others find shelter in temporary warming centres, opened by the city every winter for a few months. But these people, too, are at risk. As demand has grown, conditions have badly deteriorated, threatening occupants’ health and safety.

A new report by the non-profit coalition Health Providers Against Poverty documents the dangerous chaos and overcrowding of Toronto’s warming centres. It points to the urgent need to improve conditions in these spaces and for governments of every level finally to do their part in the fight against homelessness.