24-hour Respite Sites are designed to broaden the range of services available to those experiencing homelessness. These Respite Sites provide 24-hour essential supports (including meals, service referrals, places to rest, etc.) in an environment that prioritizes ease of admission to safe facilities.

The Interim Standards took effect on April 30, 2018, and will be in place while the City engages in a broad consultation process that will focus on better understanding the opportunities presented by 24-hour Respite Sites and the lived experience of those who use this vital service. The Interim Standards will remain in effect until the permanent 24-hour Respite Sites Standards are developed and implemented.

Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) will be engaging in deep consultation with stakeholders across the service spectrum; including service users, service providers, staff and communities. These consultations are designed to ensure the permanent Respite Sites Standards provide for the highest quality of service provision for clients using 24-hour respite services.

The objectives of the consultations are to:

  • engage stakeholders, service providers and service users in the development of standards that provide for the safe and secure respite of service users
  • obtain expert/technical advice regarding evidence-based, leading practices in various areas of service provision and referral;
  • support legislative compliance by the City, all service providers and staff; and
  • ensure appropriate services are available to all those who seek respite.

The consultation to develop these standards will consist of three main components:

1. Client Consultation

Service users will be consulted to inform the Respite Sites Standards, based on both their experience to date (both positive experiences and deficiencies/gaps) and the opportunities for future improvements. This client input will help to guide and validate the focus and components of the permanent Respite Sites Standards. Multiple focus groups and/or individual interviews will be carried out at each of the respite sites and within communities across the City.

Engaging Indigenous clients in this consultation is particularly important, given the proportion of them that are accessing shelter and respite services. Consultation with Indigenous service users and providers will inform how these clients can be further and more deeply engaged. Learnings from the City’s Street Needs Assessment will also be included in the consultation planning.

2. Stakeholder Consultation

Service providers and subject matter experts will be invited to participate in technical sessions to inform the permanent 24-hour Respite Sites Standards. A minimum of five such sessions will be held and will be themed according to priority areas identified through an in-depth review of preliminary source documents[1].

The themes identified and proposed for consultation are:

  • Service access (low-barrier)
  • Facilities
  • Nutrition
  • Health
  • Training

3. Public Consultation

Prior to finalizing, a draft version of the permanent set of 24-hour Respite Sites Standards will be posted on the City of Toronto’s website to engage the broader public and solicit input and feedback on the proposed standards.

Projected Timelines: General

Phases and Expected Duration

A. Client Consultation – May to June 2018

B. Stakeholder Consultation – July to August 2018

C. Public Consultation – September to October 2018

D. Final Standards Posted – November 2018


[1] Preliminary source documents include: The Ombudsman’s report: Enquiry into City of Toronto Winter Respite Services, 2017-18 Winter Season; HPAP’s report: An Evaluation of Toronto’s Warming Centres & Winter Response to Homelessness; Toronto Public Health’s IPAC Manual for Shelters (draft); the Toronto Shelter Standards.