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Toronto secures more than 200 shelter spaces for asylum seekers amid housing crisis

The City of Toronto says it has designated more than 200 shelter spaces for asylum seekers, responding to the rising numbers of refugee claimants sleeping on the streets, which the mayor has called a crisis.

A press release from the city says it has secured rooms at two hotels and a city emergency shelter for 212 asylum seekers.

Last week, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow secured unanimous approval on a motion to designate the spaces during her first council meeting as the city’s leader, with officials revealing that the number of asylum seekers in Toronto’s shelter system grew by 500 per cent in 20 months.

The city says the spaces would in part come from the $97 million in federal funding recently earmarked for Toronto to help its overstretched shelter system cope with the high numbers of refugee claimants who are unhoused.

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The city says it will continue working this week to hit its goal of designating a total of 250 spaces and it encourages property owners with available rental units to help provide much-needed housing for refugee claimants.

The city in the release also thanks the leadership of Black-led community groups for the support so far, including organizing temporary shelter, providing food, clothing and other assistance for the asylum claimants from African countries.

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&© 2023 The Canadian Press

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