The City of Toronto is supporting newcomers experiencing homelessness with an innovative new temporary program as part of the COVID-19 shelter response.
The City is utilizing vacant units in four Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) buildings slated for demolition as part of the Regent Park revitalization to provide temporary accommodation for refugee/asylum seekers. The program supports the City’s efforts to provide increased physical distancing in the shelter system.
Clients will move-in on a phased in-basis starting in mid-July. There are up to 70 units spread over four buildings that can accommodate up to 160 clients until the end of the year. The site will operate temporarily until such time as the clients have all found permanent housing or by December 15, 2020 in alignment with the revitalization schedule for the site.
The program focuses on newcomers experiencing homelessness and will be operated on behalf of the City by the community agency, WoodGreen Community Services. The agency will provide all clients temporarily living on-site with additional support including re-settlement services, referrals to other community supports and assistance developing a permanent housing plan. The City extends its thanks to DelSuites for furnishing eight units and Bed, Bath and Beyond for providing housewares. Each unit will have high-speed, low-cost internet access, paid for by the City at a discounted rate of $10 per unit/per month through Rogers’ Connected for Success program.
Since mid-March, the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) division has moved more than 3,200 people to achieve physical distancing in the shelter system, including providing interim housing for at least 150 individuals and permanent housing for more than 1,300 individuals.
“The City continues to find innovative solutions to homelessness during this pandemic. By partnering with TCHC and a community partner agency, we are able to provide temporarily accommodate up to 160 of our most vulnerable residents through the end of 2020 while we actively work to secure permanent housing for newcomer families in need of our help.”
-Mayor John Tory
“This partnership between the City and TCHC to find solutions for newcomers and refugees to have a temporary place to stay while safely physically distancing is an example of how working together strengthens our ability to respond during this COVID-19 pandemic. Working with a partner agency will further this work by seek permanent housing for these individuals and families.”
-Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of Economic and Community Development Committee.
“This is a win-win in many ways. We get to help individual and families who are newcomers and refugees secure temporary accommodation in our community through use of these vacant units before the Regent Park buildings are redeveloped, and at the same time work with a partner agency on more permanent housing options.”
-Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13 Toronto Centre)
“The Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) division is thankful to have the support of our partners to continue to provide safe shelter to people experiencing homeless during this pandemic, and to assist them to access permanent housing as quickly as possible. We know that housing is the best solution to homelessness and to keeping people safe from COVID-19. This new program builds on the work we have been doing over the past few months to temporarily house more than 150 and permanently house almost 1,300 homeless individuals. We will continue to work tireless to do more.”
– Mary-Anne Bédard, General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration
“Toronto Community Housing is pleased to contribute to the City’s efforts to find housing solutions for the homeless during the pandemic by making these vacant units available as temporary housing. We are doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives while keeping the Regent Park revitalization project on schedule.”
– Kevin Marshman, TCHC President and CEO
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.