October 2017


  • In 2016, more than 16,000 unique individuals used the City-administered emergency shelter system.
  • 11 per centof shelter users stayed for more than a year, using 61 per centof capacity.
  • 22 per cent were homelessness for more than six months, meeting the federal definition of chronic homelessness. These 3,583 people likely have more complex challenges and need supportive housing.
  • The City of Toronto is working with the Ministry of Health, local health integration networks and long-term care homes to develop the deeper partnerships needed to ensure people with complex needs have appropriate housing.
  • Use of the City’s emergency shelter system has been on the rise for several years, the result of increasing housing costs in Toronto, stagnant social assistance rates and an increase in demand from those seeking refugee status.
  • On an average night in September 2017, 5,092 people were using the City’s emergency shelter system. Comparatively, in September 2016, there were 4,157.
  • The City is doing a volunteer-driven homeless count called the Street Needs Assessment (SNA) in April 2018.
    • This is a point-in-time census of who is homeless on this night in City shelters, Violence Against Women shelters (administered by the province), health care and correctional facilities.
    • It is also an estimate of those sleeping outdoors based on an established and respected methodology.
    • A survey is done of those experiencing homelessness on that night.
    • Results inform policies and programs in the homelessness services sector.
  • Information about services for those experiencing homelessness is available at www.toronto.ca/homelesshelp, a map-based app developed by the City to make accessing this information as easy as possible.


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Media contact: Patricia Anderson, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, Patricia.Anderson@toronto.ca, 416-397-4328