Freezing to death on the sidewalk in Toronto

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  • Arthur Jardine (BPAG) says:

    I see and understand the winter problems and deaths that come every year, but I’m designing a device that can change that. A device that every one can use safely even in their homemade shelters and tents

  • Carol says:

    No surprise under Trudeau

  • Robert Childs from Toronto says:

    I’ve heard homeless shelters in Toronto receive over one hundred dollars a night, for every bed thay fill…

    Can or dose anyone know how one could confirm this?

  • Concerned citizen says:

    Government needs to step up and take action against this.too many on the streets in ontario. Sad when people are dying because they have no where to go. Time to look at what the cause of it is and fix it.Government needs to look out for the canadian people first, help your own people.

  • connie harrison says:

    the shelters are hellholes that are kept afloat by the poverty pimps.people would rather be outside even if dangerous.

    • A Reader says:

      I agree. Shiftwork jobs for some in the shelters; 9-5 jobs writing grant applications for others, and 20-35-40 hrs per week without any supervision if you’re “outreach” workers spending your paid time “liising with street-dwellers. It’s all about jobs for a few. All get to go home to their houses/apts., employees being highly-prized by landlords (they can be sued/evicted more easily than an unemployed person who might be tempted to defend their homes in court, has the time to do so, and thus costs the landlords more $.) Paid workers don’t have the time free for LTB Hearings, and can get replacement homes more easily (they’re desired tenants), and so the housing workers simply can’t relate to those of us terrorized by the cheaper “informal” evictions.

    • Robert Childs from Toronto says:

      I feel safer on the street’s of Toronto at four o’clock in the morning, then I would being in a homeless shelter at four in the afternoon!

  • Jo Par says:

    “Together, all three levels of government must collaborate on long-term housing solutions through strategies such as the development of new social rent-geared-to-income housing, rent control, subsidies for social housing and improved social assistance.”

    Ok, how? Wheres the analysis? Shoddy article.

  • Cathy Crowe says:

    Madeline and Conor, what evidence do you have for your first sentence? It suggests freezing deaths and I’m just not aware this is happening. Cathy Crowe, Street Nurse

    • A Reader says:

      As Ms. Crowe is well-known for her career devoted to working with those living in the streets, I’m surprised that, apparently, she didn’t read the published statistics – by the City itself – linked to within the article. Instead, she restricted her comment to 1) criticizing the first sentence’s lack of proof, which is always introductory of a topic to be proved/supported within the rest of the article; and 2) denying the phenomenon of people freezing to death on the streets because she is admittedly “not aware this is happening”. (Sorry, this lack of awareness is hard to believe; even this layperson reads the papers, thesis, scholarly reports, etc. All of them are wrong?) And since she includes so little data herself in her attempt to debunk the article, I have to wonder, “why?”. More specifically: why bother to reply at all if your limited two sentences serve only to cast doubt on the other writers’ work?

      I’ve been homeless myself, so I’m not quite ignorant, and I welcome any discussions regardless of the rigour of the scholarship or quality of the article. Even the illiterate and high school dropouts are taxpayers, voters and influencers; everyone needs to know people in Toronto and across the province are dying from failed attempts to stay warm in our harsh environments. I’m also aware that most readers do believe published stats – but if one wishes to (perhaps rightfully) challenge the stats, as a layperson or even from an authoritative position, more is needed.

      For me, I’d rather die than enter another “shelter” due to the guards’ lies, thefts other behaviours, yet even trying to sleep outside means that I’m likely to be found & assaulted because I can’t keep quiet & hidden (I started snoring recently). I also understand the staff “mean well”, don’t have enough resources or training, “start to emulate the behaviours of the inmates”, etc., etc. The excuses are immaterial.

      What is happening now is what matters: this province and this country has a precarious housing crisis, and the social function of the guard industry’s workers appears to be to offer us this choice: either accept the slumlords’ demands, accept the guards’ demands, or go ahead and try to live outside. If you die, tough luck; it’s not because of the system but your own individual choice. Not our fault; the person who was homeless had choices and didn’t have to be outside, and we “experts” in the field have the most authority to debunk/mislead or otherwise judge with the least amount of effort beyond what we’re paid to do. If we choose to do 50 or 51% or our jobs, that’s between us and those who employ us.

      Nor are the streets so terrible as to be deadly themselves. I have fond memories of prostitutes, substance users, etc. protecting me as I walked home after work in my 20s, offering advice as to cars and men to avoid, I could approach them when I was searching for a sick cat, and a favourite shelter roomie liked her heroin. I submit that it’s often employed, privileged healthcare and social service workers (backed up by cops and security) that hurt us the most with their judgmental stereotyping, driving us away from safe spots but refuse to even admit their own actions – or the plain and obvious.


Conor Lavelle


Conor Lavelle is an emergency physician in downtown Toronto, he has written for Maclean’s, the National Post, Quartz, and Canadian Press.

Madeline McDonald


Madeline McDonald is a medical student in Toronto.

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