Local 79 joins calls for City to declare state of emergency over homelessness

With several City of Toronto shelters operating at over-capacity, the President of CUPE Local 79, Dave Mitchell, is supporting housing advocates’ call for the City of Toronto to declare a state of emergency over homelessness.

Despite more resources being promised to the City’s shelter system, capacity isn’t being increased fast enough to meed demand.

“Shelter workers are describing alarming conditions inside City shelters,” said Mitchell. “Cots are being placed in hallways and common areas to meet the surge in demand for shelter beds. People are even sleeping on the floor.”

“Overcrowding causes tension amongst clients, creating a climate that can erupt in violence. Overcrowding also facilitates the spread of disease. This all puts a heavy strain on shelter workers.”

Mitchell says the City of Toronto does not have the resources to tackle homelessness alone. The lack of affordable housing in Toronto is contributing to the shelter crisis, and other levels of government need to unlock funds to immediately start creating affordable housing units.

CUPE Local 79 represents about 20,000 City of Toronto employees working in all City divisions, including homeless shelters, public health, city inspectors, transportation, childcare centres, employment and social services, recreation programs and longterm care homes.

For more information, please contact Tor Sandberg: 416-655-8338