Holy Trinity’s efforts to combat the housing crisis have been ongoing for many years, but since the pandemic started our efforts have shifted into high gear. COVID-19 outbreaks in shelters caused many folks to relocate to encampments, including one set up around Trinity Square. 40 or so people have been living in tents around the church, offering a public visual of the dire straits faced by Toronto’s street people.
While many social services closed, we have been serving this population with food, water, coffee, access to electricity and personal hygiene supplies. At one point, there was even the threat of the City evicting these residents by clearing the encampments, which members of our congregation diligently combated.
Finally, on July 3rd, 3 and a half months since the beginning of the pandemic, the City took legitimate action. At 9AM, a team of outreach workers arrived to finally get our Trinity Square population indoors. In the midst of a heat wave, vehicles arrived to escort any people who wanted to go, to the city-funded Roehampton Hotel in midtown.
Folks will be housed for about a year there, and then hopefully be transitioned into long-term affordable housing. Many people packed their bags and began to line up while a huge donation of water was also dropped off. It is so exciting to see the City do what is right and address this ongoing issue that has been magnified by the current COVID predicament. We are thankful, and we will continue working hard to support our vulnerable street population.