The Shelter Design and Technical Guidelines provide best practices to assist those designing and building shelters or undertaking major shelter renovations in Toronto. The Guidelines are intended to respond to the evolving needs of those experiencing homelessness, and enhance positive outcomes for all shelter users, staff, visitors and the surrounding community in new and renovated shelters.
Recommendations in the Guidelines span a broad range of areas from design principles to functional components of the building, environmental design, and materials and finishes.
The Shelter Design and Technical Guidelines is a living document, intended to be reviewed and updated periodically based on ongoing consultation with service users and other key stakeholders. Originally launched in January 2021, the Guidelines underwent a review in 2021/2022 and an updated version was released in July 2023.
The Shelter Design & Technical Guidelines was originally released in January 2021, after a collaborative process with a wide range of stakeholders, including Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour, 2SLGBTQ+, individuals with accessibility needs, and youth experiencing homelessness.
The 2023 update to the Shelter Design and Technical Guidelines covers lessons learned from pandemic response, new shelter construction, and feedback shared from staff, partners and those with lived experience of homelessness.
The City would like to thank its partners, staff and service users who shared their time and expertise in contributing to the update of the Shelter Design and Technical Standards.