June 6, 2018

Temporary Respite Structures for 24-Hour Services

Overview & Rationale

The City of Toronto is facing unprecedented demand for low-barrier 24-hour respite services. Council directed staff to ensure adequate spaces are maintained to meet this need. It is challenging to find buildings to house these services that meet AODA standards for accessibility, that offer washrooms, showers, and other amenities, that have well-functioning HVAC systems and that are located close to public transit and other services. The time and cost involved in completing renovations to meet these standards is also a challenge.

To provide high-quality, accessible respite services in 2018/2019, City staff have secured four temporary respite structures that can be operational in locations across the City as part of the 2018/2019 Winter Respite Plan. The temporary respites will be provided by Sprung and built by BLT Construction Services.

The system is modular and can be constructed to satisfy Shelter, Support and Housing Administration performance requirements and mandated timelines. These are insulated, all-weather buildings constructed with a high-performance tensioned fabric and fibreglass on an aluminum frame. The building system is durable and can be dismantled, moved and installed on an alternate site if required. Consequently, this building system can add resiliency not only to Toronto’s shelter system, but also to its emergency response capacity more generally.

For the 2018/19 Winter Respite Plan, a minimum of 600 spaces in 24-hour sites will be available. Four hundred of these spaces will be provided in these temporary respite structures.

Companies – Sprung & BLT

 Sprung Instant Structures Limited

  • Sprung is a Canadian company, founded in 1887 in Calgary, Alberta
  • Sprung now has 10 offices around the world, including two in Canada (Aldersyde, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario)
  • Manufacturing is done in Alberta
  • Sprung has built more than 12,000 structures in over 100 countries

BLT Construction Services

  • Construction/installation of Sprung structures is a proprietary patented system and is supplied by Sprung in partnership with BLT Construction Services Inc.
  • BLT is a Canadian company that has been in business for more than 20 years. It has offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Sprung Structures – Uses & Examples

  • In use in communities across Canada, the U.S., and the world for a range of purposes, including temporary housing, emergency shelters, churches, arctic stations, aquatic centres, gyms, classrooms, and fire stations
  • Local example: Bayview Glen private school in Toronto has established a Sprung structure as its gymnasium. (photos provided) They are planning to build another to house a swimming pool.
  • Emergency shelter example: The City of San Diego has been using Sprung structures for over a decade as an emergency shelter.

City of Toronto – 24-Hour Respite Sites

Locations & Timing

  • Planning for four sites to open prior to the start of the winter season in 2018
  • Locations are all on City-owned land. Two will be in the downtown core, one in the west end and one in the east end.
  • Addresses will be shared publicly, including a community engagement process to notify local residents.

Program Description

  • 24-hour respite sites are low-barrier, pet-friendly facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness. They provide essential supports (including meals, service referrals and places to rest) in an environment that prioritizes ease of admission to safe facilities.

Structure Description

  • Insulated, all-weather building.
  • High-performance tensioned fabric and fibreglass on a non-corroding aluminum frame.
  • Full connections to municipal services for water, sewers, electrical service and gas.
  • Full heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Telephone and City of Toronto IT network connection.
  • 150 x 60 feet.
  • Each structure can accommodate 100 people, plus staff.

Amenities

Each structure will have:

  • Full plumbing (e.g., no chemical toilets)
  • 7 showers (3 women’s, 3 men’s, 1 gender neutral/accessible)
  • 14 toilets for clients (6 women’s, 4 men’s toilets and 2 urinals, 2 gender-neutral / accessible) and 2 staff washrooms
  • Laundry facilities for clients
  • Cots
  • Dining and common area with TVs
  • Storage rooms
  • Full food server for dispensing food and a food pantry (meals will be prepared offsite and brought in by a contracted catering company)
  • Sky lights for natural light
  • Secured staff area on main floor with mezzanine administrative offices

Cost

  • Approximately $2.5 million per site

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