Location: 1677 Wilson Avenue
Shelter residents: All gender
Number of rooms: up to 190 rooms
Opened: 2016
Service operators:  COSTI and City of Toronto

The City has been using 1677 Wilson Avenue to accommodate people experiencing homelessness since 2016. The space was secured through a Request for Proposals process, and before March 2020 was used primarily to serve families, couples, singles, refugees and refugee claimants.

As part of the City’s response to COVID-19, the City of Toronto has opened more than 25 new temporary sites to create physical distancing in the shelter system and provide space for people to move indoors from encampments. There has been approximately 3,000 spaces created in these new temporary shelters and hotel programs. The City worked quickly to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in shelters and the community. In March 2020, the 1677 Wilson Avenue location was converted to a temporary shelter serving primarily singles and couples as part of the COVID-19 response. This service is operated by Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) at the City of Toronto and community partner, COSTI.

1677 Wilson Avenue is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with wrap-around support for residents. All shelter programming is provided through a Housing-First lens which prioritizes independent living, providing option for shelter residents who would require continued supports in order to exit the shelter. Future programming is developed in response to the needs of people residing at the shelter. Community partners that support physical and mental health needs of vulnerable persons may provide services to the residents at the new location. COVID-19 precautions have impacted many recreational activities and programming throughout the shelter system. As restrictions are lifted, various recreational activities and programming will be restored, in the same way we are experiencing it in the broader community. There will be access to common areas set up for physical distancing to engage with staff, community agencies or each other.

Some community partners providing on site programming supports include:

  • Intercity Health Associates (ICHA) – nursing, physicians and Psychiatry on site
  • On Site vaccination clinics and COVID testing
  • Harm reduction supports – through The Works, LAMP Community Health Centre
  • Multi-Disciplinary Outreach Team (M-DOT) – mental health services

Services listed are only available to shelter residents.

Community safety is a priority for the City when the City and providers operate shelter services. COSTI and the City of Toronto team delivering shelter services at 1677 Wilson Avenue bring management practices that have proven successful and all staff are trained on de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis prevention, intervention and management.

Since the change in population, community safety teams have been present in the premises and in the neighborhood to ensure the safety of clients and residents and help in response to drug paraphernalia collection, alerting of an overdose and other community issues or concerns.

The site has 24/7 security that deals with issues on site and monitors the immediate surrounding area.

There is a large team of trained staff supporting to the client population. Shift supervisors are trained to address issues during their shifts and relay the information and needed follow-up to the manager.

Staff are working closely with neighborhood officers to address any issues or concerns. They’re usually the first point of contact in the case of an emergency or a concern that might be affecting the neighborhood.

The following safety measures are in place at 1677 Wilson Avenue to support the residents and community:

  • A community safety team (CST) that establish healthy relations and lines of communications with shelter residents while assisting shelter staff when required to ensure that all clients comply with Shelter Standards.
  • All CST members are trained to respond to immediate non-police or non-EMS related matters and will also be patrolling “hotspots” identified by the community and picking up any drug paraphernalia if found
  • Clients themselves will be assisting with community clean-ups and picking up drug paraphernalia
  • On-site security team
  • Guards are stationed at each of the South and North Towers and patrol at each entrance.
  • Patrols throughout the building are conducted every 30-60 minutes, checking stairways and emergency exists
  • Security also checks fire safety equipment to ensure it has not been vandalized
  • Security also checks the hotel parking lot and each exit door

The City is currently working with our partners to review the security and community safety teams at this location to determine if changes are required. The City will be adding an additional Community Safety Team at 1677 Wilson Avenue to address concerns in relation to the gathering of individuals in front of the location and congregating on the sidewalk.

It is important also to remember that people using shelter services are equal residents of the city. They can move around communities and use amenities such as parks, public benches like all residents in our city. And like all residents, shelter residents are also expected to conduct themselves according to the rules/laws and by-laws. Shelter residents can attend regular shelter/program meetings where any issues with rights and responsibilities are routinely tabled.

Community safety is a priority for the City when the City and providers operate shelter services. COSTI and the City of Toronto team delivering shelter services at 1677 Wilson Avenue bring management practices that have proven successful and all staff are trained on de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis prevention, intervention and management.

Since the change in population, community safety teams have been present in the premises and in the neighborhood to ensure the safety of clients and residents and help in response to drug paraphernalia collection, alerting of an overdose and other community issues or concerns.

The site has 24/7 security that deals with issues on site and monitors the immediate surrounding area.

There is a large team of trained staff supporting to the client population. Shift supervisors are trained to address issues during their shifts and relay the information and needed follow-up to the manager.

 

Staff are working closely with neighborhood officers to address any issues or concerns. They’re usually the first point of contact in the case of an emergency or a concern that might be affecting the neighborhood.

The following safety measures are in place at 1677 Wilson Avenue to support the residents and community:

  • A community safety team (CST) that establish healthy relations and lines of communications with shelter residents while assisting shelter staff when required to ensure that all clients comply with Shelter Standards.
  • All CST members are trained to respond to immediate non-police or non-EMS related matters and will also be patrolling “hotspots” identified by the community and picking up any drug paraphernalia if found
  • Clients themselves will be assisting with community clean-ups and picking up drug paraphernalia
  • On-site security team
  • Guards are stationed at each of the South and North Towers and patrol at each entrance.
  • Patrols throughout the building are conducted every 30-60 minutes, checking stairways and emergency exists
  • Security also checks fire safety equipment to ensure it has not been vandalized
  • Security also checks the hotel parking lot and each exit door

The City is currently working with our partners to review the security and community safety teams at this location to determine if changes are required. The City will be adding an additional Community Safety Team at 1677 Wilson Avenue to address concerns in relation to the gathering of individuals in front of the location and congregating on the sidewalk.

It is important also to remember that people using shelter services are equal residents of the city. They can move around communities and use amenities such as parks, public benches like all residents in our city. And like all residents, shelter residents are also expected to conduct themselves according to the rules/laws and by-laws. Shelter residents can attend regular shelter/program meetings where any issues with rights and responsibilities are routinely tabled.

City staff have a strong relationship with stakeholders in the neighbourhood having been in this location since 2016 with families.

COSTI has a stakeholder and community engagement manager who plans for engagements and communication with community agencies to better support and facilitate issues and needs in the community.

Community engagement plan includes:

  • Reviewing and responding to feedback on key issues from the community
  • Project updates and outreach as required
  • Virtual and/or in-person stakeholder meetings for representatives of local resident associations, businesses, institutions and community groups
  • Project-specific web page
  • Flyer on program at 1677 Wilson Avenue and key contact information
  • Participation in the Black Creek/ Humber Summit Community Cluster – Ward 6 and 7
  • Social Service Development work group in collaboration with Councillor Perruzza’s office (upcoming)
  • Community safety audit in collaboration with Councillor Perruzza’s office (upcoming)

Because of physical distancing restrictions, we will be running engagement events online and over the phone rather than in person.

If you have questions or immediate concerns, please look at the Who to Call sheet for 1677 Wilson Avenue

If you are witnessing or involved in an emergency, please call 911.