Toronto city council approved on Monday the creation of more than 600 new emergency shelter spaces for refugees and refugee claimants.
In a news release, the City said council approved a recommendation by City staff to execute an agreement with the hotel located at 3 Park Home Ave. in North York.
The statement noted that refugee occupancy in the shelter system has been “steadily increasing” since September of last year, largely due to the border reopening and easing of travel restrictions.
An average of 55 new refugee arrivals per week accessed the City’s shelter system in the first half of 2022, the statement noted, and there are more than 1,800 refugees in shelters.
“Despite adding 750 new spaces for refugees and refugee claimants in the spring of 2022, demand continues to grow,” the City said.
“Current trends are consistent with the significant surge of new refugee and refugee claimant arrivals experienced by Toronto’s shelter system in 2018 and 2019.”
The City said it continues to follow council’s direction to create a “refugee-specific shelter sector that operates parallel to the existing shelter system.”
Refugee-specific shelters include supports specifically geared towards helping refugees build connections and get established in the community, the City noted.
Services at the hotel will include help with the settlement process, assistance with finding permanent housing, employment and education supports, health supports and more.
The City said recreation activities will also be offered, along with supports to help children transition into local schools.
“By establishing the new program at 3 Park Home Ave., it will also free up space in the City’s base shelter system by allowing refugees currently in non-refugee specific shelters to move to the new site,” the statement said.
The total cost for the City is around $80 million for five years, the statement said.
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