'My friends are dying:' Toronto's homeless call out growing health crisis in shelters

Posted
January 9, 2018

"I used to be proud to be from Toronto," said David Gordon. "Now I'm ashamed."

Gordon, a homeless Torontonian who also volunteers at a community health centre in Etobicoke, says that he sees people struggling with depression, anxiety and addiction every day. 

"It's getting to the point where my friends are dying," he said.

Gordon spoke at a Tuesday event that saw several homeless people, shelter volunteers and community health representatives decrying the conditions of the city's shelter system — the focus of heavy scrutiny during the extreme cold snaps of recent weeks.

They argue that an unseen health crisis is lurking in Toronto's crowded shelters.

Sharon Mark, who has been living at Sistering, a 24-hour women's drop in, for the past nine months, says exhaustion from disturbed sleep and fast spreading disease are the norm for her now.

She described living with a "complete lack of privacy," and getting sick "over and over again," concluding, "guys, we need help."

Read more: 'My friends are dying:' Toronto's homeless call out growing health crisis in shelters