Council extends COVID-19 shelters, including Bond and Novotel Hotel sites

By the bridge reporter

On March 24, City Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee approved a staff recommendation to extend use of 27 Covid-19 temporary shelter sites until at least April 2023.

Nearly half are hotels, such as the Bond Place and Novotel downtown, which have been fiercely opposed by nearby res- idents and businesses who cite increased crime and drug use.

According to the staff report, the 27 temporary shelters comprise 40 per cent of spaces in the city’s shelter system. Each night 3200 people are accommodated in temporary shelters across Toronto, of whom 1,513
reside in hotels.

The cost of extending lease and licence agreements at the 13 hotel sites for a year is estimated at $75 million. Up to five temporary shelter sites are slated to be decommissioned in 2022. Two that have been identified are at 195 Princes’ Blvd. in the CNE grounds, and 1684 Queen Street East, next to Woodbine Park.

Gordon Tanner, acting general manager of the city’sShelter, Support and Housing Administration said the longer timeline is needed to maintain adequate physical distancing as Covid-19 ramps up again and enable shelter residents to transition to more permanent housing.

In the first quarter of 2023, city staff are to report back on the first phase of a shelter transition relocation plan.