Streets to Homes delivers street outreach and housing assistance to street involved people in Toronto and has done so since 2005 when Toronto City Council endorsed a housing first approach and the goal of ending street homelessness.
The service is 24/7 in the downtown core and during the day and evening throughout the rest of the city. It is offered to all street-involved people, not just those sleeping outside. This includes those staying in shelters and spending their days on the streets, as well as those in housing and panhandling.
Service is provided both by City employees and through 27 community agencies partnering with the City to provide outreach outside the core and housing supports after people move into their homes.
Call 311 if you see someone on the street needing outreach assistance. As always, dial 911 in an emergency.
For emergency shelter call 311 or Central Intake toll-free from any phone booth 1-877-338-3398.
For Streets to Homes assistance, call 416-392-0090 or go to the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre at 129 Peter Street.
Since 2005 outreach workers have helped more than 3,000 people (as of December 31, 2010) move into housing directly from the street; 80% remain in their homes at the 12 month mark. Often, clients have complex mental health and addiction issues.
The priority is to help people find permanent housing and to provide the supports they require to remain in their homes. Clients choose where they want to live and agree to have rent paid directly to the landlord, most of whom are in the private sector. There is clear evidence that those living in permanent housing panhandle less frequently than when they are homeless; have better health and improved quality of life; and use fewer costly emergency services such as hospital emergency rooms and jails.
Here's a summary of S2H services:
- 24/7 street outreach downtown
- Housing assistance and follow up supports for at least a year after clients find housing
- Supports to private-sector landlords (68% of clients choose units with private sector landlords)
- 24/7 assessment and referral centre that provides street-involved clients with walk-in housing counselling services; 24/7 street respite; transition to housing beds; and overnight assessment and referral to emergency shelter for all walk-in clients
- Front-line assistance in the event of an emergency requiring human services supports (such as 200 Wellesley and 80 Cosburn Ave., and numerous rooming house closures)
- Additional overnight shifts during extreme cold weather conditions
- Mobile outreach team responds to areas outside the downtown core that are identified as needed service to assist panhandlers
- Multi-Disciplinary Mobile Outreach Team does a clinical assessment in the field and develops a case plan built on housing outcomes. Links people with mental health and/or addictions to treatment such as nursing, psychiatric, clinical case management and concurrent disorder therapy
- A specialized youth team
- Aboriginal specific street outreach and housing follow-up services
- Post-incarceration program which provides housing supports to people leaving detention centres and jails
- Employment supports to help clients regain access to the workforce
- Access to a charitable organization that provides furniture and other necessities for those moving into housing
- Trusteeship programs which help clients manage their money and improve their financial literacy.
Assessment and Referral Centre
On October 29, 2010, the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre began service to the first client at the new facility located at Richmond and Peter Streets in Toronto's Entertainment District downtown.
Information & reports (PDF)