Feds boot homeless from armoury

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 15 Dec 1999 10:33:39 -0500


Wednesday, December 15, 1999  The Toronto Sun

Feds boot homeless from
armoury

By ANNE DAWSON, OTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA --  Toronto's homeless no longer need
the Fort York Armoury for shelter so the federal
government is taking it back, Defence Minister Art
Eggleton announced yesterday.

Eggleton was raked over the coals by NDP Leader
Alexa McDonough for throwing "desperate families,
literally, out in the cold.

"It is simply not true that those beds are no longer
needed. There are not enough beds in Toronto
today," McDonough told the Commons.

She accused Prime Minister Jean Chretien of being
consumed with the constitution at the expense of
child poverty and homelessness.

"Will the PM just pause for one moment, think of
the homeless, reverse this heartless decision?" she
asked.

Eggleton and Mayor Mel Lastman struck a
six-month agreement in June to turn part of the
armoury into a 150-bed emergency shelter for
about $6,000 a night. That deal runs out today.

Eggleton brushed off the attack, saying Toronto has
alternate shelter beds to get through the winter. He
said the armoury will be used by the military as a
command centre for the Y2K rollover.

Chretien also defended his government's record on
the homeless, saying it's always working on ways to
end poverty. Last month, it doled out $1.2 million to
Toronto for low-cost housing.

More than 4,000 people rely on Toronto's shelter
system each night.