Homelessness is a known problem in Toronto and contributes to health inequities. In partnership with supporting agencies, Toronto Public Health (TPH) is tracking the deaths of people experiencing homelessness to get a better estimate of the number of deaths and their causes. Data is being collected for people who are experiencing homelessness and die while living at shelters, on the street, or at other locations in Toronto. This will provide evidence on which to base efforts to improve the health of this vulnerable population.
The data can be found in a new interactive dashboard format by clinic on the link below.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) leads the data collection, analysis and reporting. Approximately 250 health and social service agencies that support people experiencing homelessness share data with TPH. The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario (OCCO) also verifies some of the data. The information will be used to gain a truer understanding of the number of deaths in the homeless community and potentially identify trends related to the population.
This project characterizes “homelessness” as:
The situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges and/or racism and discrimination. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, stressful and distressing (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2012).
Thus someone who is temporarily staying with friends or family, or transitioning to new housing, but has experienced long periods without a permanent home, would be considered homeless.
If the death is newly discovered, please call 911 first.
For more information or to report a death of a person experiencing homelessness, please contact Caryn Thompson at 416-338-2087 or Caryn.Thompson@toronto.ca.
The Deaths of People Experiencing Homelessness data is updated twice a year, typically in March and October. Due to the City’s ongoing response to our local COVID-19 situation, data updates have been delayed. We continue to work with our City partners and partner agencies on this initiative. Updated data for the first half of 2020 (January to June) are due to be released by the end of October.
When possible, reports received in a timely matter are most appreciated. Reports received until January 31, 2021 will be included in the March 2021 update.
Caryn Thompson, Policy Development Officer
Surveillance and Epidemiology Unit/Performance and Standards Directorate
Sarah Collier, Acting Manager
Epidemiology and Data Analytics Unit/Communicable Disease Control Directorate
TPH Media relations
Always call 911 for emergencies