[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto shelters struggle to cope with surge in refugee claimants”
The Toronto Star‘s Nicholas Keung describes how incoming refugees–not only from Syria–are overwhelming the city’s shelter system.
At one Toronto refugee shelter, a family with four kids was asked to give up one of their two rooms for a newly arrived family so both could have a roof over their heads.
At another, in the west end, a family of three stored their luggage in the staff office and spent the night in what’s supposed to be the TV room for other residents.
The recent shelter crunch has even prompted the Romero House, which has four locations in Toronto, to launch a community host program to ask neighbours, friends and supporters to open their homes to accommodate the overflow until a shelter bed is available for those knocking on its doors.
Since the beginning of the fall, the peak season for refugee arrivals, Toronto’s already strained refugee shelter system has been dealing with what some operators call an unprecedented bed shortage. Some operators are even referring callers to shelters in Hamilton.
The system is expected to be further strained with more asylum seekers anticipated to arrive via the United States after the Trump administration’s recent executive order to limit immigration and refugees that is widely viewed by the immigrant communities there as xenophobic.