Toronto is officially in crisis mode over the unprecedented wave of refugees that continue to arrive and seek asylum in the city. Toronto's shelter systems are overwhelmed, refugee housing has exceeded capacity, and Mayor John Tory is urging the government for help.
"We need help," Mayor Tory said in a public statement, "We just don't have the resources to do it alone." Mayor Tory says that the city has gone to "heroic efforts" to accommodate the influx.
College dorms, hotels and motels across the city have opened their doors, giving 2,332 refugees a place to live. But, hundreds will be forced out on August 8th when students return to school, which will result in yet another devastating capacity crisis when these refugees become displaced.
“Relocating just this population of 800 would require the emergency closure, for example, of multiple community centres across the city,” Mayor Tory told The Star, “We have exhausted our available sites, our resources and our personnel.”
New data reveals that 728 of those refugees are under 8 years old, and 518 are between the ages of 8 and 15. Most are travelling in families of three or more.
The City of Toronto believes in and supports Canada’s moral obligation to help those who need our help. But Canada’s responsibility to these families does not end at the border. pic.twitter.com/3nsJAF7tL0— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) June 26, 2018
With this additional temporary housing, Toronto has nearly 7,000 shelter beds, making it the most equipped city in the country for accepting refugees. So, it's no surprise that the pressure falls on Toronto to be the primary destination for asylum seekers heading to Canada. Sadly, the city is cracking under the pressure.
Ontario is slated to get $11 million in federal funding towards temporary housing for asylum seekers, much of which will go directly to Toronto. But, the funding barely makes a dent in the estimated $65 million that the city will end up spending by the end of this year.
Today is #WorldRefugeeDay. Last year with your help, we provided sanctuary for 40 refugee families. Your support helps courageous and resilient families at the Red Door to build a safe, brighter future for their children. Thank you for standing with refugees. pic.twitter.com/ASbE1NqdlW— RedDoorFamilyShelter (@RedDoorFamilySh) June 20, 2018
According to one expert, temporary housing isn't the primary issue - it's the "lack of affordable housing in areas that also offer employment and language services for new immigrants," which would allow refugees to build a life in Canada instead of simply having a roof over their heads.
Discussions are expected to continue to grant more federal funding for Toronto's refugee crisis.
Source: The Star