The federal government will be providing an additional $210 million to fund interim housing for asylum seekers, and about half of that money will be heading to Toronto, where dozens of refugees forced to camp out on the sidewalk outside a shelter are being shuttled to a church in North York.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser made the announcement on Tuesday morning, saying that $97 million has been earmarked to help Toronto refugees who are not being supported under federal programs.

“This will put us in a position where the City of Toronto will not have any concerns about the federal share of costs to ensure that they can provide housing to them, should they choose to re-extend access to the shelter system in Toronto to asylum seekers who up until recently have been denied that access.”

The announcement comes as a group of about 30 or so people are being sent to a church after spending weeks sleeping outside of a shelter intake centre on Peter Street after they were told to instead seek help from federal programs. The city argued its shelter system is already too full and can’t accommodate the increased demand.

At the time, advocates accused the city of denying shelter to refugees and sending them on a “cruel wild-goose chase” by telling them to call Service Canada for aide.

Toronto staff have said they require at least $100 million more in federal funding to keep up with the increase of refugees. The city claims that in May there were 2,900 refugee claimants in Toronto’s shelter system compared to the 537 claimants in September 2021.

The announcement by Fraser appears to be a direct response to this request, weeks after asylum seekers were caught in the middle of a funding argument between all three levels of government.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford sidestepped a question Tuesday morning about additional provincial funding to help support the influx of refugees coming into the province.

At an unrelated news conference, he told reporters he has spoken to refugees in his riding and what they really want are jobs.

“They're all healthy, they all want to work, so the feds have to speed up the working permits,” he said. “Each of these people sitting around for -- what is it -- literally four months, four or five more months, that's unacceptable.”

“All they want is a better life.”

He said the federal government needs to provide the City of Toronto with additional funding to the tune of $150 million.

“I'm going to be all over the federal government to make sure that we get these people back on their feet. You can’t just drop people and say okay, we’re all done. It doesn’t work that way.”

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said she welcomed the new federal funding but that is not enough to meet the demand of refugees arriving in the city.

“It may however provide a short term stop gap,” she said in a statement. “We have been very clear as a city that we need help accessing shelter space, personnel, funding and support for the organizations stepping up across the city to help those seeking shelter and housing.”

In a subsequent statement, the mayor said she will introduce a motion at Wednesday's council meeting on the refugee shelter and housing crisis.

“Senior staff from all three levels of government had a productive discussion at today’s senior operations and emergency management table," Chow said. "I have been speaking with the Premier, Prime Minister, Mayors and City Staff to ensure action can be taken quickly to address this crisis."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed during their first meeting Tuesday to work with Chow to "improve access to affordable housing and enhance refugee support and resettlement efforts" in the city.

Meanwhile, Spadina-Fort York Member of Parliament Kevin Vuong, whose riding includes the shelter intake centre, said the city could have put together temporary solutions rather than rely on federal funding.

“One of which was asking the federal government to open up the armoury, as has been requested in the past to get the homeless out of the cold in the winter,” he told Newstalk 1010’s Moore in the Morning Tuesday.

“They need to come together and find a sustainable long-term solution to the funding issue, not just for Toronto, but there are over 4,400 asylum seekers in hotels in Niagara and Windsor, Ottawa, Cornwall, Mississauga and Kingston.”

In the meantime, organizations and members of the business community have pitched in to relocate the refugees to Revivaltime Tabernacle on Dufferin Street, where they will be given mental health supports and accommodations.