Toronto’s Emergency Shelter System
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- With City Council support, through Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA), the City has been growing its shelter system in order to meet additional demand for this service.
- City shelters continue to be busy and staff are working on addressing capacity issues in the longer term.
- Heading into the winter, the City continues to meet the needs of Toronto residents who are homeless. An expanded suite of services will be available and operate continuously from November 15 to April 15.
- There are 62 permanent emergency shelters in Toronto, 10 of whcih are directly operated by the City with the remainder operated by 30 community agencies.
- Shelter services can be accessed 24/7 through 311 or Central Intake, a phone intake service operated by SSHA. Youth and adults can also get a walk-in referral from the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre at 129 Peter St.
- Shelters provide temporary accommodation and help people find and move into permanent housing through case management, housing help and referrals to health care, income supports and other community services.
- The approved 2017 budget for emergency shelter and related services is $135 million.
- One year ago, total shelter capacity was 4,316; on the same October night in 2017, capacity was almost 5,500, a 26 per cent increase.
- With almost no exceptions, these are beds, not mats on the floor or cots. These numbers do not include Out of the Cold programs, 24-hour women drop-ins or winter respite services.
- Toronto has more shelter beds per capital than any other jurisdiction in Canada.
- Most of this increased capacity is in the form of specialized motel programs to meet the needs of families.
- During 2017, the City will have added 279 shelter beds to the system in addition to adding 825 motel beds to programs serving families, mostly refugee claimants.
- Here are the shelter program beds added throughout the year, some are permanent, some temporary and some replacement:
- 30 new beds for men at Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre Bloor (January 2017)
- 6 new beds for refugees at Christie Refugee Welcome Centre (January 2017)
- 12 new beds for men at Christie Ossington Lansdowne (January 2017)
- 36 temporary beds for men at Sojourn House (February 2017)
- 60 new beds at Salvation Army’s new Hope shelter for men in Leslieville (December 2017)
- 30 new beds at Homes First women’s shelter in Scarborough
- 105 bedsfor men at Seaton House, closed for most of the GAS outbreak from March 2016 to October 16, 2017
- By December 31, 2017, the City expects to have nightly capacity of 5,651 beds.
- Information about services for those experiencing homelessness is available at www.toronto.ca/homelesshelp, a map-based app developed by the City.
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Media contact: Patricia Anderson, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, Patricia.Anderson@toronto.ca, 416-397-4328