With temperatures dropping, demand is up for warm clothing and beds

OCAP's John Clarke says homeless people are "scrambling" to keep warm this winter


Demand has risen for warm clothing and shelter space as the temperatures this winter have plummeted.

Organizations like Winter Project Survival, the Scott Mission and Yonge Street Mission have been asking for your donations of coats, sleeping bags, warm socks and sweaters.

Representatives with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, meanwhile, are continuing a push for more shelter beds in the city.

OCAP's John Clarke says that since council voted to keep shelter capacity at below 90 per cent last April, there have been only some improvements, including the opening of a temporary women's shelter with 30 beds in Parkdale.

"They haven't achieved that [90-per cent mark] in parts of the shelter system," he says. "So the shelters are still hopelessly overcrowded."

He adds that the Out of the Cold program that churches operate has run at 120 per cent capacity.

"People are scrambling, it's a desperate situation," Clarke says.

In order for the city to be prepared for more freezing temperatures this season, Clarke says Toronto needs to establish more warming centres and provide more shelter beds.

"We're not talking about homes, we're talking about shelter beds," he says. "And it's not even possible to provide an adequate supply of those."

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