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Toronto successfully relocates refugee/asylum claimants from temporary housing 

The City of Toronto has relocated all refugee/asylum claimants temporarily housed in the Centennial College and Humber College dormitories to hotels in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and into permanent housing.

“The City of Toronto has worked diligently and compassionately to accommodate the ongoing arrival of refugee and asylum seekers,” said Mayor John Tory. “With the partnership of other levels of government and surrounding municipalities, we have been able to relocate the dormitory population. However, the City continues to face great pressure on our shelter system that requires long-term action and partnership.”

The Centennial College and Humber College dormitories opened as temporary shelters in May as part of a contingency plan for Emergency Social Services as the City’s existing hotel/motel program for refugee/asylum claimants reached capacity. At its peak, about 675 people resided in the two college dormitory programs. The dormitories were available until August 9, when students begin returning for the academic year. With support from other levels of government, municipalities and community agencies, alternative accommodations were found for those living in the dormitories.

The City would like to thank the Government of Canada for providing an initial $11 million to help offset the projected $64.5 million in costs associated with the arrivals of refugee/asylum claimants and for arranging and funding hotel accommodation within the GTA as part of efforts to relocate the dormitory population. The City would also like to thank the Government of Ontario for committing up to $3 million in Red Cross staffing costs as part of the anticipated $6.3 million total cost of operating the college dormitory sites. The City would also like to recognize the Red Cross and COSTI for site management and Centennial College and Humber College. The City is also grateful for the work
of its community partners in providing information and referral services and fellow GTA municipalities who have taken in many refugee/asylum claimants.

Since November 2016, the City has served a total of 5482 refugee/asylum claimants in the shelter system and has successfully found permanent housing for 2900 during that time period. As of August 8, the total number of refugees in the City’s shelter system is 2880, or 42 per cent of all shelter users. This has increased from 11 per cent in early 2016.

The City of Toronto continues to face extreme challenges accommodating new arrivals of refugees and asylum claimants, including 185 arrivals over the last seven days.

The City has requested that the federal and provincial governments take action to manage the inter-provincial flow of irregular migrants and coordinate the placement of new arrivals to locations outside of the City of Toronto’s shelter system. The City eagerly awaits the September opening of a triage centre in Cornwall, Ontario as promised by the Government of Canada.

The City is committed to continue its work with other orders of government, including municipalities, as well as community partners to find appropriate shelter, accommodation and supports for all those who need it.

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