IMPACT

Few Complaints About Shelter Availability, Report Finds

03/12/2013 08:31 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT
Getty Images
Beds are seen at Prates Complex, a center that will host homeless people, alcoholics, and drug addicts, on March 27, 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The complex, which opened its doors today, includes a community center, a hostel for adults, a shelter for children and a greenhouse for gardening lessons and offers social services and health care. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
A city report says Toronto is not short on homeless shelter spaces despite recent protests decrying the lack of beds.

Members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) camped out in Metro Hall last week to demand more spots for homeless people.

But Mayor Rob Ford said the city's hostel services are meeting Toronto's needs.

The shelter management system catalogued more than 300 complaints last year, but only11 of those were about access to beds. Only one of those complaints was about being turned away.

OCAP organizer John Clarke says the report doesn't accurately reflect the problem.

“If they want to do a study, why don't they go down to their own Peter Street referral centre in the middle of the night and talk to people who are sleeping on the floor because they can't get into a shelter?"

Coun. Josh Matlow said he wants to know more about how the report was conducted.

"We need to ask staff 'how did you come to this conclusion? Who did you speak to?"

Report findings questioned

Street Pastor Doug Johnson Hatlem said the report doesn't mean there are enough shelter beds. He said most homeless people are too busy trying to survive to fill out complaint forms.

"If someone can't get a bed they've got to worry about how to keep warm, how to keep dry, how to keep moving," he told CBC News. "They're not going online and find a form."

The report goes to committee next week. Council will review it in April.