Today, City Council voted to approve a number of initiatives that support the City of Toronto’s ongoing efforts to build and strengthen a responsive homelessness service system and advance the City’s and its partners’ shared goal of ending chronic homelessness in Toronto.
Two reports considered at the current meeting of City Council – Shelter, Support and Housing Administration’s (SSHA) Homelessness Solutions Service Plan and the 2022 Shelter Infrastructure Plan, Community Engagement Review and Amendments to Contracts and Purchase Orders to Support Shelter Services – received approval.
First, the SSHA’s Homelessness Solutions Service Plan identifies implementation priorities to guide the City and its partners in the homelessness service system in Toronto over the next three years as the City continues to build and strengthen a responsive homelessness service delivery system, which uses an integrated and person-centred approach to address homelessness.
Shaped by the detailed findings of the City’s 2021 Street Needs Assessment, as well as extensive engagement and feedback with frontline staff, service providers, sector partners and people with lived experience of homelessness, the Service Plan outlines a housing-oriented approach to homelessness and identifies six implementation priorities:
Also approved was the 2022 Shelter Infrastructure Plan – a report that provides information and updates on infrastructure, procurement and community engagement related to the City’s shelter projects.
A key action identified as part of the Infrastructure Plan is the development of an operational plan to transition out of COVID-19 hotel response sites. The timing of this transition will be based on any future changes to public health guidance, ongoing assessment of shelter demand, and availability of supportive housing opportunities.
The City plans to continue current response efforts, which includes continuing to provide services at temporary shelter sites to support physical distancing measures until at least April 2022.
The City is developing a COVID-19 Transition and Relocation Plan that considers specific site needs and ensures adequate shelter capacity is maintained to support a phased transition out of current hotel locations. The plan will focus on working with service partners to help move people into permanent housing, whenever possible, as well as to provide the supports to help ensure a safe transition. This aligns with the City’s housing-first model that prioritizes working with individuals experiencing homelessness to secure housing. Since the pandemic began, the City has moved close to 6,900 people from the shelter system into permanent housing.
Details of the Transition and Relocation Plan will be shared in the first quarter of 2022 on the City’s website, as well as with local communities.
The Infrastructure Plan also outlines work that SSHA will undertake to develop a three-year Capital Infrastructure Strategy (2022-2024), working with CreateTO and Corporate Real Estate Management, to identify real estate and infrastructure solutions to align with the priorities identified in SSHA’s service plan and to meet the City’s commitment to long-term housing and emergency shelter needs.
Homelessness is a complex issue that cannot be solved by any one organization or sector. Effective delivery of the housing and homelessness system will require continued close collaboration among all partners, including interdivisional partners, as well as ongoing engagement and partnership with community providers, other service sectors, other orders of government and people with lived experience of homelessness.
As recommended through the reports approved by Council, the City will reiterate its request to the Federal and Provincial governments to deliver funding to support COVID-19 response, as well as sustainable and long-term funding to support much-needed harm reduction and mental health case management, as well as supportive housing targets of 1,800 new units every year for 10 years.
“We continue to do everything we can as a city government to help people experiencing homelessness and to provide safe, indoor shelter and to help people move into supportive housing and other long-term housing options. The reports approved today will guide the City’s and our partners’ ongoing efforts to address homelessness over the next three years. I want to thank all City staff and homelessness sector partners for their participation and support of the Street Needs Assessment and the new Service Plan, as we all continue to work – with the help and support from the provincial and federal governments – for our most vulnerable fellow residents.”
– Mayor John Tory
“These reports solidify Toronto’s leadership in delivering innovative, tailored, housing-first-focused services that meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. I also welcome additional opportunities for ongoing engagement with communities and community partners as we bring new services to those in need.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“Thank you to all staff and partners who worked on supporting this year’s Street Needs Assessment, Homelessness Solutions Service Plan, and the Infrastructure Plan and Community Engagement Review. Council’s approval of these recommendations ensures that SSHA and our partners can continue to build and strengthen a responsive homelessness service delivery system using an integrated and person-centred approach to address homelessness.”
– Gordon Tanner, General Manager (Acting), Shelter, Support and Housing Administration
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