As part of the City’s response to COVID-19, the City of Toronto has opened 40 new temporary sites to create physical distancing in the shelter system and provide space for people to move indoors from encampments. Currently 25 locations are active, providing close to 2,300 spaces in new temporary shelters and hotel programs.
All locations are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provide wrap-around support for clients, including:
On-site staff are available to respond to concerns and all locations have security guards and cameras.
The new temporary facilities have been set up to meet Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines for physical distancing in congregate living settings, which include the requirement to maintain 2 metres of physical distancing between beds. These locations will continue to be needed until the guidance changes or ends.
The new temporary locations are located across the city in 13 different wards.
In 2017, City Council authorized staff to site new shelters in locations that meet zoning bylaws, prior to engaging with the community. This was done to help speed up and depoliticize the shelter development process and is consistent with a human rights-based approach to housing and related services for vulnerable residents. Additional authority was delegated under Municipal Code Chapter 59, Emergency Management as a result of the pandemic.
The City typically engages the community in advance of opening a new shelter in an effort to provide information about the program and support its successful integration into the community. This was not possible for the temporary sites due to the speed at which the City had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City had to work quickly to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in shelters and the community.
The City remains committed to working with the community to address any questions or concerns regarding the new temporary shelter sites. See the “Who to Call” tab for more information.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has implemented a number of measures to protect people across the shelter system, including those staying at the new temporary sites. This includes:
For a full list of COVID-19 measures implemented to enhance health safety in shelters, visit COVID-19: Changes to City Services.
During COVID-19, temporary shelter and respite sites may not have space to accommodate walk-in referrals. Calling Central Intake in advance is recommended to minimize unnecessary travel in keeping with physical distancing guidelines provided by Toronto Public Health.
3-1-1 | 416-338-0889 (TTY)
Report concerns about:
416-808-2222 | 416-467-0493 (TTY)