The City of Toronto will conduct Toronto’s fifth Street Needs Assessment (SNA) beginning today. The SNA is a city-wide, point-in-time count and survey of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto, led by Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in collaboration with community partners in the homelessness sector. The City has conducted SNAs since 2006 and has done so in 2009, 2013 and 2018. Due to the City’s COVID-19 response, the SNA planned for Spring of 2020 had to be postponed.
The approach for the 2021 SNA follows the recommended methodology prescribed by the federal and provincial governments and was modified to ensure all public health measures and guidelines can be followed and the project can be delivered safely for everyone involved. Toronto Public Health and the City’s Occupational Health and Safety section were consulted on the planning and implementation of this year’s SNA.
The initiative will be led by staff from City-funded shelters and outreach agencies, as well as staff in provincially-administered sites. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers were not recruited for this year’s SNA. In addition, all training was provided online rather than in person and surveys will be administered electronically. Surveys will be conducted by staff adhering to appropriate public health protocols including maintaining a physical distance of two metres and using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant changes have been made to how services are being provided to people experiencing homelessness. The 2021 SNA will provide critical data needed to understand the impact of the pandemic on homelessness, as well as to understand broader needs and barriers to services for people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. The SNA also gives people experiencing homelessness a voice in what services would help them get housing and supports they need to end their homelessness. It provides critically important data used to improve the services and programs for people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
The SNA includes people staying outdoors and in encampments, in City-administered shelters and shelter hotels (including COVID-19 response sites and the isolation/recovery site), 24-hour respite sites (including 24-hour women’s drop-ins and winter services in operation), as well as provincially-administered Violence Against Women shelters, and health and treatment and correctional facilities. The SNA does not include people who are experiencing hidden homelessness, such as people who are temporarily staying with others.
The SNA is part of the national and provincial coordinated point-in-time count with communities across Canada and the results will be used to create a national and provincial picture of homelessness. The SNA is a requirement of federal Reaching Home funding and the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has also made this a requirement for municipal service managers.
More information on Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy is available here
2021 Toronto SNA Timeline:
Indoor Survey Week: April 19 to 23 (Monday to Friday)
Indoor and Outdoor Count: Wednesday, April 21
Outdoor Survey: Tuesday, April 27
The City aims to release the full report with count and survey results in September 2021.
More information about the 2021 SNA, including video messages by Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, is available here
Results of past SNAs are available.
“The 2021 Street Needs Assessment will provide the City with critical information needed to understand the impact of the pandemic on homelessness, as well as the broader needs and barriers to services of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto, as we continue to improve housing stability for people who are at risk. I want to thank all City staff and homelessness sector partners for their participation and support of the Street Needs Assessment, as we all continue to work for our most vulnerable fellow citizens. I’d like to thank the federal government for providing Toronto with Reaching Home funding to implement this important initiative.”
– Mayor John Tory
“This has been a very difficult time for people experiencing homelessness and for those working to address this daunting challenge. The City and its partners have played a critical role in Toronto’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to ensure that our most vulnerable people are cared for during a time of unprecedented need. The 2021 Street Needs Assessment provides crucial data that will enable us to optimize our shelter and housing services and to improve housing stability for people who risk or experience homelessness.”
– Deputy Mayor and Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic Development Committee
“Thank you to all staff and partners working and supporting this year’s Street Needs Assessment. Previous Streets Needs Assessment results have helped us improve program and service delivery, such as the development of an Indigenous funding stream with a 20 per cent funding allocation, the creation of an LGBTQ2S youth shelter and increased resources for shelter programming for seniors. The data collected from the 2021 Street Needs Assessment will help us to better understand and serve the complex needs of people experiencing homelessness and inform SSHA’s next five-year service plan that will guide how we deliver programs and services.
– Mary-Anne Bedard, General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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