Trudeau's 'Irregular Travellers' are Now Occupying 40% of Toronto's Shelters

Trudeau's 'Irregular Travellers' are Now Occupying 40% of Toronto's Shelters

A new report is bringing into sharper focus the strain an influx of refugee and asylum claimants is putting on Toronto's shelter system.

The 2018 Street Needs Assessment includes a count of Toronto's homeless on the streets and in shelters performed on the evening of April 26 and details some of the challenges they face.

The study finds 40% of people in Toronto's shelter system are refugee or asylum claimants, a figure that has ballooned from 11% in early 2016.

 Photo: City of Toronto

Photo: City of Toronto

Todd Orvitz with the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration for Toronto explains that over the last 18 months, the number of refugee and asylum claimants relying on shelters has skyrocketed from 450 to a peak of about 3,200 before settling in around 2,600 in April.

"It's the lion's share of growth in the sector," Orvitz says.

80% of the refugee and asylum claimants turning to Toronto for help are families of at least three people, something Orvitz concedes presents some challenges with space.

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