As part of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the City is responsible for updating the Toronto Shelter Standards (TSS) with an anti-Black racism (ABR) lens. As part of this process, the City engaged a third-party facilitator, Facilitating Change, to conduct consultations with Black shelter service users. The goal was to:

  • understand how to apply an ABR lens to shelter services from the perspective of Black individuals who access shelter settings
  • identify and review areas of the TSS that require improvement through an ABR lens
  • propose updates to the TSS based on key issues and gaps, particularly from the perspective of Black individuals who access shelter settings
  • share understanding on how the proposed updates to the TSS apply an ABR lens
  • identify any benefits and challenges that the proposed changes would have on Black service users and City-funded service providers, and provide support to resolve any concerns that arise when implementing changes

Consultation Process

Shelter resident feedback was collected through in-person focus groups and one-on-one interviews held at designated shelter locations throughout August to mid-October.

Participants were asked to share:

  • what kinds of challenges they face as Black individuals receiving shelter services
  • how anti-Black racism has affected their experience in shelters
  • what the City can do to make shelters more welcoming for Black residents.

Online Survey

Current or recent shelter residents (within the past 12 months) who identify as Black, were also invited to complete an online survey. Shelter residents could complete this survey even if they participated in either an in-person interview or focus group.

Consultation Results

The results of the consultations will be used to update the Toronto Shelter Standards to ensure that the City is improving standards and addressing the needs of Black shelter residents.

Results and recommendations will be available early 2023. These recommendations will be reviewed and incorporated into the Toronto Shelter Standards as of the spring of 2023.

The City is committed to adapting the Toronto Shelter Standards to better serve racialized people and in confronting racism in all its forms. A broader update of the TSS is planned to begin in 2023, and further engagements will take place to support that work. We continue to seek ways to improve how we serve shelter residents and work to ensure that homelessness in Toronto is rare, brief and nonrecurring.

Anti-Black racism affects the life chances of more than 200,000 people of African descent or origin who call Toronto home. Confronting and removing barriers caused by Anti-Black Racism benefits all Torontonians, especially other Toronto communities experiencing racism and marginalization. This work marks progress in the City reaching its confronting anti-Black racism goals.