A Toronto street nurse has called the city “second class” after releasing undercover footage filmed during visits to respite shelters and warming centres.

Longtime homeless advocate Cathy Crowe filmed the video in secret last weekend during an extreme cold weather alert. The footage reveals rows of cots on the ground, tightly packed and cordoned off by tape, in various drop-in respite centres in the city.

“This is a second-tier, second-class shelter system, and we are a second-class city to allow it to happen,” Crowe said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Some of the shelters were operating at or near capacity, according to reports. One centre visited by CTV Toronto was home to 220 people earlier this week, but only had beds for 200. Visitors put their names into a draw for reclining chairs when beds are full.

“Most of our programs are taking in extra folks where we can because it feels like the system is really full and there’s more and more pressure for beds,” said Denise Allen, senior manager of the respite program at the Fred Victor Centre.