Toronto "relocates" Gypises to ther communities: not "dumping"?

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 8 Apr 1998 14:45:11 -0700 (PDT)


FWD
The Toronto Sun
February 5, 1998

TORONTO SHIPS OUT GYPSIES
THEY PREFER SMALLER TOWNS: OFFICIAL

By JAMES WALLACE -- Queen's Park Bureau

Mentally ill homeless people, transients and welfare clients are being
shuttled among social service agencies in Toronto area municipalities,
program officials say.

The regions outside Toronto routinely pay for bus tickets to ship clients
into the city, either because their facilities are full or because their
clients want the ride.

But the traffic runs both ways.

Toronto also runs a program to "resettle" refugee claimants outside the
city.

The new city council will spend $470,000 this year on a program to move
refugees to other communities, including Hamilton, St. Catharines, Sarnia
and Oshawa.

The money goes for staff, a van, hotel bills and expenses to resettle the
families.

Most of the refugees are Gypsies from the Czech republic.

Hundreds of Czech Gypsies flooded into Pearson Airport last summer after a
TV documentary in that country suggested Canada was handing out lavish
benefits to refugees.

     COULDN'T COPE

About 124 people have been relocated in other communities.

Another hundred or so were put up in motels and hotels in Oshawa and the
Niagara region for about four months last year because Toronto's hostels
couldn't cope with the "overflow."

That cost taxpayers $33 to $149 a night for each individual or family.

Shirley Hoy, commissioner of Toronto's community and neighborhood
services, said the program was set up to help refugees who don't like the
city find homes and jobs in smaller communities.

"It's not dumping," Hoy said.

"They put a lot of pressure on our family hostels," Hoy said.

Toronto does handle more than its share of social-service clients from
outside the city.

About 30% of the people on Toronto's welfare caseload came here from other
parts of the province or the country.

Roughly 10% of the people in hostels on any given night are from outside
the city.

Paul Cloutier, the administrator of Durham's income support program, said
the area regions do not ship clients into Toronto.

"If we have someone staying in a hostel in Oshawa and they want to go to
Toronto, we'll help them with transportation," Cloutier said.

     $87M SHORTFALL

A Peel Region task force found community-based agencies, such as those
that serve the mentally ill, have been forced to shop clients around in
other regions to find beds and other programs for them.

Peel blamed the problem on an $87.4-million funding shortfall from the
province.

Premier Mike Harris has promised to look into the issue.

END FORWARD


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