Sunday, April 14, 2024

Toronto’s largest temporary respite center is closing

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The 24 hour Better Living Center BCL at Exhibition Place has closed new admissions the City of Toronto announced in a February 20 announcement

Toronto’s largest respite center for homeless people is closing soon for the season. The City of Toronto announced in a February 20 announcement that new admissions to the 24-hour Better Living Center (BCL) at Exhibition Place have been closed. The move comes as part of plans to close the center completely on March 15.

In a news release, the City of Toronto said city authorities are working to relocate clients to other centers in the shelter system. Among them, those who have applied for refugee status will be able to move to hotels managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada outside of Toronto.

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Services at the city’s two other centers are being coordinated until the end of the city’s winter program on April 15 to absorb the impact of the center’s closure. Starting in mid-March, the 60-person warming center at 75 Elizabeth Street, near Bay and Dundas Streets, will be converted to a 24-hour respite program. The 45-person capacity 55-person Metro Holtic on John Street can be used as a warming center if temperatures drop below 5 degrees or if Environment Canada issues a winter warning.

This winter the City of Toronto is also operating a 24-hour respite center at 20 Gerrard Street East and 502 Spadina Avenue. Gerrard’s center, which opened on November 15, has a capacity of 30. The Spadina Center, which opened on November 27, has a capacity of 50.

The city authorities announced the closure of the venue at 195 Princess’ Boulevard last December due to the need for another contractual booking. In that sense, the closure of Better Living Center is not a new news. In a press release, city officials said the city is grateful to Exhibition Place for providing the service in partnership.

Better Living Center was opened as a temporary respite on December 21. It was a program of 240 beds at that time. It was increased to 300 beds for people of all sexes when extreme winters started earlier this year. The center has been running at full capacity since its inception.

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