The City of Toronto and the TTC are partnering with community wellbeing experts at LOFT Community Services to better respond to the needs of vulnerable people sheltering on Toronto’s transit system.
Through LOFT and the City’s Multi-Disciplinary Outreach Team (M-DOT) program, individuals requiring more complex and longer-term supports will now have access to case workers and health care professionals, including registered nurses. This will ensure people are receiving the health and social supports they need long after crisis de-escalation and emergency response are complete. While not a crisis service itself, this new one-year partnership expands the City-funded M-DOT service, growing the specialized team of providers from various organizations that delivers services to the most vulnerable individuals.
There is an unprecedented need for increased services geared to individuals with complex needs who are using the TTC for shelter and warmth. Starting this month, LOFT staff will be deployed in the transit system to connect people with services, including physical and mental health supports, through a case management approach to ongoing care.
LOFT specializes in one-on-one support with daily living, assistance navigating the healthcare and justice systems, tailored referrals to addiction health care providers and other social services, and expert and peer support for community reintegration. It is expected that through this partnership, an additional 80 to 100 people experiencing homelessness on the transit system will have access to supports.
The increased Streets to Homes and Community Safety Ambassador teams announced in January are beginning to have a positive impact for people experiencing homelessness sheltering on the TTC. Since January, Streets to Homes outreach teams referred more than 202 people from the TTC to shelter.
The new LOFT supports are on top of measures underway by the City and TTC in recent months that include:
Funding for the additional M-DOT supports was proposed in a motion by Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North) and was deemed adopted by City Council during the 2023 Budget meeting. The motion provides $500,000 in support of a one-year pilot for expanding M-DOT teams across the TTC to provide supports to persons experiencing homelessness.
While there are many different and complex issues surrounding safety on the transit system, and in Toronto, the City, the TTC, Toronto Police Service and partners have implemented immediate, medium- and longer-term strategies to prioritize safety. More information on the TTC supports announced last month is available in the City’s Media Room.
“We want to make sure the TTC is safe for everyone. The work of TTC, the City and partners to tackle the challenges on the transit system has been immediate and is getting results. Bringing LOFT onboard now allows us to extend the immediate supports we have already deployed and provide the many ongoing aspects of health and social care that people need to lead healthy lives.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park)
“As a city, we have a responsibility to ensure that our most vulnerable receive supports beyond immediate crisis intervention. The M-DOT program is essential to helping break the cycle of people in crisis – it provides the opportunity to get people the health care, social support, and access to long-term, safe, indoor space they so urgently need. This partnership with LOFT will strengthen the M-DOT program and help even more folks access these vital supports.”
– Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“The TTC is a critical part of getting people where they need to go every day. I want to thank City staff and our new partners at LOFT for providing these vital supports for people experiencing homelessness, so the TTC can focus on what it does best: providing reliable, safe public transit for everyone in our city.”
– Councillor Jon Burnside (Don Valley East), Chair of the TTC
“I want to thank our employees for their work as well as our partners in the City. As can be seen with today’s announcement, we are continuing to find new solutions to these complex issues. It is only through working together that we will create the comprehensive solutions that are needed.”
– Rick Leary, CEO, TTC
“LOFT is pleased to expand this important outreach program with the City of Toronto and the TTC. Providing vital supports to people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues who have few options but to shelter in the TTC system will help build a healthier Toronto.”
– Heather McDonald, CEO, LOFT Community Services
About LOFT Community Services
LOFT Community Services provides support and hope to people facing the most complex combinations of mental and physical health challenges, addictions, dementia and/or homelessness. We offer a wide range of community-based services, specialized programs for at-risk and equity-deserving individuals, 1,788 supportive housing units and an extensive street outreach program. For more information, please visit www.loftcs.org or follow @LOFTCS on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Toronto is home to more than three 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.