City committee asked to approve $108M in hotel contracts for refugees

A city committee will be asked Wednesday to approve six contracts valued at $108 million to house refugee claimants for the next year.

Those contracts, on the agenda of the economic and community development committee, will provide 800 hotel rooms in Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket and Pickering from July 1, if needed, according to shelter, support and housing spokesman Greg Seraganian.

That doesn’t include the $24 million already spent to house and feed those in the Radisson Toronto East ($13 million), the Toronto Plaza hotel ($9-million) and the Comfort Hotel Airport North ($2 million) over the past six months.

there were just over 2,600 refugees in the motel program as of Tuesday and in the past 18 months more than 8,100 refugee/asylum claimants have been assisted with finding permanent housing.

A companion report on the same agenda indicates some $88.6 million will be allocated to the 3,188 shelter beds operated by community providers.

Some $11 million of that is to fund mental health services and another $10.8 million will be spent to locate and develop new shelter sites as part of the city’s efforts to open 1,000 new “emergency” shelter beds.