The City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division (SSHA) today released the results of Toronto’s fifth Street Needs Assessment (SNA) and the proposed Homelessness Solutions Service Plan. Responding to the SNA’s key findings, the Service Plan identifies six implementation priorities that support the City’s ongoing efforts to build and strengthen a responsive homelessness service system and advance our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness in Toronto.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has worked to continue to provide unprecedented support for people experiencing homelessness. These efforts include providing safe, indoor shelter with stringent COVID-19 protocols and ongoing vaccination efforts. The City has also moved more than 6,635 people experiencing homelessness from the shelter system into permanent housing since April 2020. The City – with the help of the federal and provincial governments – is investing $663.2 million this year to continue to support homelessness and housing first solutions.
The SNA is a federally funded point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. As part of the national and provincial coordinated count, the SNA provides important data that informs how the City supports people experiencing homelessness.
Key findings from the 2021 Street Needs Assessment are:
The full results of the 2021 Toronto Street Needs Assessment can be found on the City’s website.
Previous SNA results have helped to improve program and service delivery, such as the creation of an Indigenous funding stream with a 20 per cent allocation of funding, new shelter development, and priority populations for housing benefit programs. The results help inform service planning and ongoing service system transformation efforts as they provide a valuable source of feedback on the services that help people experiencing homelessness find and maintain housing.
The data from Toronto’s 2021 SNA, as well as input gathered through extensive engagement with frontline staff, sector partners and people with lived experience of homelessness, informed the creation of the Homelessness Solutions Service Plan.
The Service Plan, which is focused on a housing-oriented approach to homelessness, identifies the following six implementation priorities, subject to Council approval, that will guide the City and its partners over the next three years:
A key action identified as part of the Service Plan is 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 services at temporary shelter sites to support physical distancing measures until at least April 2022. Most hotel providers have indicated a willingness to extend leases, which will mitigate the need for transition during the winter. Over the next 12 months, the City will work to develop a COVID-19 Transition and Relocation Plan that considers specific site needs and focuses on working with service partners to help move people into permanent housing.
Similar to previous years, SSHA will also deliver enhanced services to protect people from colder weather over the coming months. The City’s winter plan will be shared in the coming weeks, including details of specific locations.
Components of the response for 2021/22 winter season include:
“Through the 2021 Street Needs Assessment, the City heard directly from thousands of people experiencing homelessness and gathered critical data needed to understand the impact of the pandemic on homelessness and the broader needs and barriers to services of people experiencing homelessness. The findings were crucial in developing the Homelessness Solutions Service Plan, which will guide the City’s and our partners’ 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 for our most vulnerable fellow residents. I would also like to thank the federal government again for providing Toronto with Reaching Home funding to implement this important initiative.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The data provided by our latest Street Needs Assessment is essential for a fuller understanding of the scope and complexity of homelessness in Toronto and how to address it more effectively. Our Homelessness Solutions Service Plan reinforces Toronto’s leadership in delivering innovative, tailored, housing-first-focused services that meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. It supports our renewed focus on strengthening the homelessness service system as it delivers effective emergency services to help people move into permanent housing as quickly as possible.”
– Deputy Mayor and Councillor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Economic and Community Development Committee
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