Rob Ford cast the sole vote on July 10 against a report recommending that the City of Toronto investigate more supports for homeless LGBT youth.
The mayor of Toronto had delayed the vote on July 9, when it was first introduced to council.
The same day, Ford remained seated as the rest of city council rose to recognize the work of city and Pride Toronto staff on the WorldPride festival.
Now that the report has passed, the city can investigate the feasibility of allocating 25 percent of beds at an existing shelter to LGBT youth and can look into community organizations that could potentially run a dedicated LGBT youth shelter.
City of Toronto shelter staff will also undergo mandatory anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia training.
Advocates for homeless LGBT youth have long championed the creation of shelters that can deal specifically with their needs. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT and face safety and accessibility issues when trying to access shelters, according to the report.
Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, a research coordinator at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub who sat on the committee that developed the report, believes the city should focus on providing the best services for everyone, regardless of personal beliefs about sexual orientation or marching in the Pride parade.
“It’s about what kind of quality of service do we provide to every person in our city, whether they are a rich businessman or a homeless youth,” she says.