Homeless shelters at full capacity as cold weather continues

Jan 31, 2022 | News

Homeless individuals are struggling to find for shelter during the GTA’s extreme cold weather due to shelters being at full capacity.

Toronto has been experiencing extreme cold weather alerts since the recording breaking snow fall on Jan, 14.

The extreme cold weather that the GTA has had recently has affected homeless individuals in many ways. Some people have not being able to access shelters in the city because of COVID-19.

Bemi Jibade, an employee at the Covenant House homeless shelter in Toronto, said the shelter is full.

She said said that they did receive calls because of the extreme cold weather and that many homeless individuals wanted to stay safe with them.

“People came to our doors this cold weather period, we got a lot of calls but it wasn’t as much as I expected it to be,” Jibade said.

As COVID-19 is still ongoing, shelters are being very careful and monitoring all homeless individuals who come into the shelter for any cases.

Because homeless individuals are more likely to contract and spread COVID-19, shelters work hard on safety measures.

“We keep people who are already in the shelter, and people who are sick we take them somewhere else to isolate” Jibade said.

COVID-19 outbreaks are a big reason why many homeless shelters in Toronto are at full capacity. To minimize the risk, Covenant House has one person per room.

“We don’t have a lot of rooms at the moment, we have around 51 people living in the shelter… because of COVID we use to have two people in a room but now it’s one,” Jibasde said.

“So for right now we don’t know how long COVID is going to be, we’re always going to have 51 people in the house,” Jibasde said.

The City of Toronto’s website put out an extreme cold weather alert and announced that homeless individuals are one of the many people who are in danger because of the lack of shelter and protection they receive, and have said to reach out to any of the medical services if needed.