As it turned out later, the information that Colla received was incorrect. The next day, the city of Toronto issued a statement saying that the occupancy rate in the shelter was actually 95%, a number comparable to the average workload in the last few months. It is possible that the staff of the shelter did not have enough information, so they provided incorrect information.
But volunteers from OPS Toronto did not know about it, so they sent a tweet as a last attempt to get help from people.
When Toronto resident Evans Jennifer saw the post, she began to act.
“People can freeze in such a cold in a very short amount of time,” she says.
Evans offered to pay for the hotel room. She also turned to her friend for help.
This friend contacted Mohamad Faqih, the owner of Paramount Fine Foods restaurant chain, and he immediately offered his help. He was also willing to pay for the rooms.
Faqih emigrated to Canada from Lebanon 18 years ago. At that time, according to him, a large number of people helped him, so he took the opportunity to repay the good people who accepted him.
“I was given hope when I came to this country as an immigrant,” the man said. “It is time to reciprocate and repay the good.”
Together, the couple managed to place 18 people in hotel rooms in less than 48 hours.
“What a great way to start a year helping someone,” Faqih said. “We had a pregnant couple who literally lived on a thermal grill outside Scotia Plaza, and we managed to put them in a hotel room.”
Faqih even agreed to continue to pay extra nights, despite the fact that there is a place in some shelters in the city.
Evans says many of the people whom they helped do not want to go to shelters.
“Many people do not trust the shelter system because of everything from violence to politics, and they prefer to stay on the street,” she said.