As their first major act as the new operating agency for Out of the Cold Collingwood, the David Busby Centre is releasing the outcomes of the South Georgian Bay Shelter Feasibility Study, which was undertaken in the fall of 2020 to determine whether South Georgian Bay needs a permanent emergency shelter.

The David Busby Centre officially took over operations of Out of the Cold Collingwood as of May 1 from Community Connections in Collingwood.

“What I liked about (the study), is it’s not focused on building a ton of more shelters. It focused on what the solution is, which is housing. There needs to be hub services. There needs to be pathways from homelessness to housing,” said Sara Peddle, executive director of the David Busby Centre.

Punishing people for being down and out and homeless is not the answer. Increased and sustained funding for safe, affordable, supportive housing, well-connected with primary health care that is inclusive of mental health and substance use treatment, is what works to address homelessness. Policies and programs led by people with the lived experience of homelessness make them more innovative and effective.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to live. The Ford government cancelled a rent freeze, scrapped an increase to minimum wage, froze Ontario Works, and cut planned mental health and addictions funding by more than $330 million.

Ford failed to address an affordable housing crisis that the pandemic has only intensified. He has thrown fuel on the fire by refusing to provide Ontarians with rent supports or ban evictions clearly and completely.

A homeless encampment in west-end Toronto became the scene of a physical clash between Toronto police officers and protesters on Wednesday, as a crowd attempted to block dozens of police and security from clearing some 15 remaining people from a Lamport Stadium camp.

A physical altercation erupted after advocates attempted to block machinery from taking away a small, wooden structure. Two people were arrested for trespassing, and one for alleged assault of a police officer. Before the clash, protesters had decried enforcement and officers pressed into the crowd with bikes to form a perimeter around an occupant told to pack their bags.

The tense scene is the latest in a series of clearings over the last week. On Tuesday, the last occupant of St. James Park was ejected to an unknown location, having denied a city offer for indoor shelter. Last week, three other camps in the downtown area were razed, with some occupants accepting alternative shelter but several others turfed without a clear destination.

City bylaw officers who arrived to relocate an encampment of homeless people from the parking lot of the YMCA and Memorial Park on May 12 backed off after the situation became tense, the city has said.

The encampment is located in the below-ground parking structure at the YMCA building on Durham Street. The area offers protection from the weather and a heat source from the YMCA pool heater vent directly above. Support workers from several groups have formed the Poverty and Housing Advocacy Coalition (PHAC), which has been offering aid to the fluctuating number of people living there. At points, upwards of 30 or so people were camped under the building.

… the new Russell Street shelter in Vic West is now open and will house up to 60 people in individual pods.

The new shelter is set to provide complete services including meals a safe consumption site, showers, laundry facilities and 24-hour security.

One Vic West resident says the shelter opening was a surprise.

“This is a shock to us still,” said Tony Young, adding that the community is bracing for the worst.

Poverty is at the root of food insecurity in Canada’s North, say experts.

Eight witnesses testified to the House of Commons’ Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee on the topic of food insecurity in Northern Canada on Tuesday.

Many northern communities lack economies that can generate wealth, said Merlyn Recinos, vice-president of business development at Arctic Fresh Inc, a store in Nunavut that sells affordable products online.

“What we need is to create an economy to be able to create those jobs,” Recinos told MPs. “(When) you create those jobs, you’re creating wealth within the community.”