01/16/2015 08:01 EST | Updated 03/18/2015 05:59 EDT

John Tory: Toronto Will Rent Motel Rooms For The Homeless

TORONTO - Toronto's mayor says the city will be turning some motel rooms into shelter spaces for the homeless, with at least 90 spaces to open as early as next week.

John Tory says the city will be renting blocks of rooms in two Toronto motels in an effort to make extra space available as needed during the cold weather.

It will cost roughly $100,000 from now until March, but Tory says it's just a short-term solution.

A report on the city’s homeless shelter system is expected in a few weeks.

Four homeless men died in just over a week in the city, three of them due to the frigid weather.

Meanwhile, Tory announced Friday that Senator Art Eggleton will lead a six-person task force on community housing in Toronto.

Eggleton, a former mayor of Toronto, will be joined by experts from fields including real estate, finance, social policy and social housing.

Tory said while some progress has been made, the system is far from perfect and needs work.

"We simply have to do better on most aspects of the housing file, continuing on as we have been for what I would say is decades in some respects is neither sensible, nor acceptable," he said.

Earlier this week, Tory said one his top budget priorities is helping the homeless. The budget will be introduced on Jan. 20.

Tory has also said the city’s public housing situation is in crisis mode and that he plans to go to other levels of government for more funding for affordable housing.

"The housing problem won't be solved with city money alone," he said. "It needs dialogue with other governments."

Toronto Community Housing needs $2.6 billion in capital repairs over the next 10 years to keep the residences in fair shape, he said.


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