Location: 1677 Wilson Avenue
Shelter residents: All gender
Number of rooms: up to 190 rooms
Opened: 2016
Service operators:  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 (RFP) process, and before March 2020 was used primarily to serve families, couples, singles, refugees and refugee claimants.

In March 2020, the 1677 Wilson Avenue location was converted to a temporary shelter serving primarily singles and couples as part of the City’s COVID-19 response. This service is operated by the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) Division at the City of Toronto. The site is available for use until the RFP end date in fall 2024.

 

If you have questions or immediate concerns, please look at the who to call information sheet for 1677 Wilson Avenue.

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 while also providing options for shelter residents who may require continued supports in order to exit the shelter.

 

Programming is developed in response to the needs of people residing at the shelter. Similar to the broader community, COVID-19 precautions have impacted many recreational activities and programming throughout the shelter system. As restrictions are lifted, these services will be restored. Shelter residents will have access to common areas set up for physical distancing to engage with staff, community agencies or each other.

  • Community partners that support physical and mental health needs of vulnerable persons continue to provide services to the residents on-site. This includes: Nursing, physicians and psychiatry – Inner City Health Associates (ICHA)
  • On-site vaccination clinics and COVID-19 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.

Toronto is seeing a substantial rise in non-fatal and fatal opioid overdoses within the overall community, as well as within the shelter system, with a notable increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due to several factors, including:

  • the increasing toxicity of the unregulated drug supply;
  • more people consuming drugs alone as a result of physical distancing requirements and shelter settings that now include increased privacy;
  • people who are staying in shelters in new locations may be purchasing from drug sellers that they do not know;
  • reduced capacity in addiction treatment and withdrawal management, and access to harm reduction support for people who use drugs

In June 2021, SSHA, in partnership with The Works at Toronto Public Health (TPH) released an updated shelter directive and 10-point plan to support implementation. The directive and 10-point plan provide expanded direction on overdose prevention in all City administered shelters and hotel sites. The directive requires all new or relocating shelters to complete a Harm Reduction and Overdose Preparedness Assessment to ensure that harm reduction policies and procedures are in place, harm reduction supplies and naloxone are available and staff have been trained in harm reduction and overdose response.

The City and community agencies also continue to manage the Integrated Prevention and Harm Reduction Initiative, or iPHARE (www.toronto.ca/iPHARE), a multi-pronged effort to address opioid-related deaths in Toronto’s shelter system.

Please read the following for more information and resources:

Community safety is a priority for the City Staff delivering shelter services at 1677 Wilson Avenue bring management practices that have proven successful and all staff are trained in de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis prevention, intervention and case management.

There is a large team of trained staff supporting vulnerable shelter users. Shift supervisors are trained to address issues during their shifts and relay the information and needed follow-up to the manager. Staff work closely with neighborhood police officers to address any issues or concerns.

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

  • A community safety team (CST) has been present on the premises to
    • establish healthy relations and lines of communications with shelter residents while assisting shelter staff when required to ensure that all residents comply with Toronto Shelter Standards.
    • help in response to drug paraphernalia collection, alerting of an overdose and other community issues or concerns.
    • respond to immediate non-police or non-EMS related matters and also patrol “hotspots” identified by the community
  • Residents of the shelter assist with community clean-ups and picking up drug paraphernalia
  • On-site security teams stationed at each of the South and North Towers 24/7 and patrol at each entrance, hotel parking lot and each exit door
    • 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

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 and public benches. And like all residents, shelter residents are also expected to conduct themselves according to the rules/laws and by-laws. Shelter residents attend regular shelter/program meetings where any issues with rights and responsibilities are routinely discussed.

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

Previous community engagement around 1677 Wilson Avenue has included:

  • Project-specific web page with updated information about the site
  • 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
  • Community safety audit in collaboration with Councillor Perruzza’s office

In response to recent inquiries from members of the public, the City has hired a community engagement team who will be gathering input from the community and sharing information about the temporary shelter program at 1677 Wilson Avenue. The community engagement plan will include:

  • 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

You can reach the 3rd party Community Engagement Facilitators at: email

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 information sheet for 1677 Wilson Avenue.

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