Toronto Homeless Shelters Occupancy Levels & Transit Accessibility
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Homelessness in the City of Toronto is an ongoing problem. While the number of homeless seems to have remained steady, the number living on the streets has actually increased (Peat & Chief, 2013). In fact, this past winter of 2014-2015 has seen the deaths of three homeless men as a result of sleeping on the streets during extreme cold weather (Colbert, 2015). As a result of these facts it is necessary to look at options homeless individuals have for obtaining shelter as well as the distance they have to travel to get to a shelter. Our research project has focused on occupancy levels in homeless shelters during “extreme cold weather alert” days in the City of Toronto, as well as access to the homeless shelters using public transit and by walking from various points in Toronto where homeless people spend the day. The goal of this research is to see how accessible homeless shelters are to public transit routes as most homeless individuals will be using public transit or walking to get to the shelters for the night. Also, to look at how accessible the shelters are to spaces homeless individuals stay during the day, such as public libraries and warming centers. Finally, with the recent deaths due to homeless individuals sleeping on the streets during extreme cold weather events, it is necessary to see what the occupancy levels can be at the shelters and if the issue is a shortage of beds or another unrelated issue.
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