45 The Esplanade photo
45 The Esplanade leased by the City of Toronto to create physical distancing.

Location: 45 The Esplanade
Shelter residents: All gender, shelter and streets to homes referrals

Number of rooms: 205 (with possibility of up to 254 rooms)

Opened: February 2021
Service operator:  Homes First Society

As part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing in the shelter system, 45 The Esplanade has been leased by the City of Toronto to act as an emergency support, temporary shelter hotel.


Learn more about the City’s plan for homelessness services as part of the response to COVID-19.

Virtual Community Information Session

Thank you to everyone who participated in and watched the 45 The Esplanade Information Session on February 18, 2021.

Please see further details about the Program Overview and Frequently Asked Questions.

Safety and security is a priority for the City. Ongoing safety planning will be a key component of the community engagement process. The operator of the site, Homes First, will work closely with Toronto Police Services, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and Corporate Security at the City of Toronto to develop community safety measures for the location. Homes First will also bring management practices that have proven successful at its other locations. All Homes First staff are trained on de-escalation, conflict resolution and crisis prevention, intervention and management. A number of community safety initiatives and measures will be put in place for this site including:

  • A security team of four to six guards will provide onsite support inside the shelter
  • Two Community Safety Teams for 24/7 patrols in the area around the property from Yonge Street to Parliament Street, and from Lakeshore Boulevard East to Richmond Street.
  • All team members are trained to respond to immediate non-police or non-EMS related matters when made aware by the community Teams will also be patrolling “hotspots” identified by the community and picking up needles. Clients themselves will be assisting with community clean-ups and picking up sharpies and drug paraphernalia
  • Monitored security surveillance cameras are being installed onsite

You can reach the Community Safety Team by telephone at 647-333-0478 and by email at securedbyus@gmail.com.

The City has contracted management and provision of service at 45 The Esplanade to Homes First. Homes First has been providing supportive housing and shelter services to Toronto residents for over 35 years, with a focus on the chronically homeless, people with complex mental health and addictions issues, and seniors.

205 rooms are available currently with the ability to rent up to the 254-room maximum. The City will fill rooms gradually, ramping up to full capacity over time.  This site will be open to adult singles and couples. A key focus of this site once open, will be to provide space for people currently experiencing homelessness in the City of Toronto.

Services made available for clients at 45 The Esplanade include:

  • A minimum of 12 Homes First staff available on-site to support clients 24/7 in addition to supervisors on each shift
  • Special supervisors in Health Navigation and Living Standards integrated into the program
  • Clients are assigned an Intensive Case Management Worker and a Housing Help Worker to work with them on developing a permanent housing plan and a plan to obtain personal documents, a local primary care physician, employment, etc.
  • All meals provided onsite
  • Recreational and social engagement programming will be offered onsite
  • The Inner City Health Associates and Multi-Discipline Outreach Teams provide a number of mental and physical health related supports including nursing, a clinic with a primary care physician and psychiatry support
  • Physical, social and health supports from individuals and organizations serving people experiencing homelessness will be invited to continue their work at 45 The Esplanade
  • Harm reduction supports onsite, including the range of services available through iPHARE (integrated Prevention & Harm Reduction) which includes a possible safe consumption site exclusively for shelter clients. Learn more about iPHARE
  • Control for containing COVID-19 will include internal cleaning protocols for dining and elevators
  • Any services listed are only available to shelter clients

Toronto is seeing a substantial rise in fatal opioid overdoses and related shelter deaths, which is increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iPHARE, which stands for Integrated Prevention and Harm Reduction initiative, is a multi-pronged effort by the City and community agencies to address opioid-related deaths in Toronto’s shelter system. The initiative comes in response to the escalating opioid poisoning crisis in Toronto.

As part of iPHARE, the City is working with Toronto Public Health and other community harm reduction programs to introduce a range of harm reduction measures in all shelter locations. Visit the iPHARE web page to learn more about these measures.

iPHARE will save lives, reduce public drug use and reduce drug paraphernalia in parks and public spaces in communities. It will also assist first responders, harm reduction workers and shelter workers who are faced every day with the difficult job of reversing overdoses or coping with overdose fatalities.

You can also sign up to get e-updates, and share your comments and questions online. Visit the iPHARE web page to learn more.

For 45 The Esplanade, the City established a community engagement team to connect with community residents and stakeholders. Due to current physical distancing restrictions, internet tools like online meetings, email bulletins, and online posting of information have been used to establish regular communications, keep residents informed and address any concerns or issues that arise.

Community Liaison Committee: A key highlight to the community engagement process is the formation of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC), with membership and input from the existing CLC in the area. A CLC is a formal committee connected to a shelter service made up of representatives of the community (condo boards, residence associations, businesses or local community organizations) that meets semi-regularly to address questions, share information, discuss and collectively problem solve community concerns.

Get in touch with the Manager of Community Engagement & Client Programming: Ryan.Evershed@homesfirst.on.ca.

General inquiries about homelessness services can be directed to:  ssha.homeless@toronto.ca

For site inquiries and immediate concerns at 45 The Esplanade, please contact: 647-454-8824

The Community Liaison Committee includes representatives of residents, businesses, and community organizations interested in identifying and problem-solving concerns and challenges related to the shelter in collaboration with City staff to ensure successful integration for the shelter into the community. If you have questions about the Community Liaison Committee, or are interested to participate, please review the Terms of Reference and email the Manager of Community Engagement & Client Programming at Ryan.Evershed@homesfirst.on.ca.