What you need to know about Toronto shelters this winter

News Nov 14, 2017 by Veronica Appia City Centre Mirror

This week, the City of Toronto will be initiating its plans to amp up efforts amid an ongoing shelter crisis.

On Nov. 15, four new 24-hour drop-in centres will be made available, with a fifth opening shortly afterward on a date still pending by the city.

The City will also be adding beds to existing shelters over the course of the winter to help alleviate overcapacity.

By the end of December, 203 beds are expected to be in place; 60 beds for men will be made available when the Salvation Army's New Hope shelter opens in December, 63 beds are being added at the Seaton House and 80 beds for refugee families are becoming available through the city's family motel program, Patricia Anderson, Manager of Partnership Development and Support for Toronto's Homelessness Services told Metroland Media.

Here's what you need to know about Toronto's shelter crisis and the current plan to tackle it.

What are the main shelter service changes the City of Toronto is implementing this year?

Aside from the addition of beds and five additional 24-hour centres, the City is extending warming shelter services into April 2018  a decision made following the cold weather patterns last spring.

Last week, council also adopted a plan for managing refugee flows, which includes allotting additional funds to existing refugee shelter partnerships and beginning a new contract with COSTI Immigrant Services, as well as taking a number of steps to aid in the processing of refugee claims and the demand of emergency services.

The City is also implementing new plans for community engagement; amending its strategy for property research, planning and site approvals; and continuing the George Street Revitalization project.

In addition to this, City of Toronto will be piloting a new service model at six approved sites in 2018 in an attempt to help people using these shelters to find permanent housing quickly and long term.

The locations for the 2018 pilot sites are as follows:

Homes First (702 Kennedy Rd.)

Salvation Army New Hope - Leslieville (29 Leslie St.) to open by year end

YouthLink (747 Warden Ave.) to open in 2018

City of Toronto Birchmount Residence (3306 Kingston Rd.) to open in 2018

George Street Revitalization Temporary Location (731 Runnymede Rd.) to open in 2018

Egale Canada (257 Dundas St. E) to open in 2018

How many people access Toronto's shelters?

According to the most recent City of Toronto data, from 2012 to 2016, more than 16,000 unique people used the shelter system, with more than 5,000 visiting shelters on any given night.

Where are the emergency shelters located?

The four new 24-hour centres will open Wednesday at the following locations:

Yonge and Bloor (21 Park Rd.)

Downtown East Site (323 Dundas St. E.)

Downtown West Site (25 Augusta Ave.)

Scarborough Site (705 Progress Ave.)

The fifth site will be located in Parkdale at an address that has yet to be released.

The existing emergency shelters, with contact information, can be found on the map below.

What are the occupancy rates in emergency shelters?

City of Toronto data reveals that from May 2016 to May 2017 the emergency shelter system saw a 17.5 per cent increase as a whole.

The Daily Shelter Census (last updated Nov. 13) states occupancy rates were last at 97 per cent for co-ed shelters, 96 per cent for men's shelters, 98 per cent for both women's shelters and youth shelters, 100 per cent for family shelters and 93 per cent for family motels. The Out of the Cold program, which opened Nov. 1, was last recorded with an occupancy rate of 100 per cent with one site open.

Council approved a 90 per cent occupancy threshold, but current capacity remains steadily above that number.

What accounts for the recent increase in Toronto's homeless population?

According to City data, 66 per cent of homeless people cite Toronto's high rents are the primary reason for their homelessness.

A combination of lack of affordable housing and low vacancy rates lead to people spending a prolonged amount of time in emergency shelters, Anderson added. This results in a snowball effect, as people spending more time in emergency shelters results in less beds for others who are newly entering the system.

The City has also seen a surge in refugee flows in recent years, contributing to the requirement of more emergency shelters. City data shows that in 2016 alone, there was an 80 per cent increase in refugees seeking these services.

How many homeless people die in the city each year?

Toronto Public Health has just recently began monitoring the deaths of the entire homeless population, and data from January to September 2017 shows that a total of 70 homeless people have died 46 of them in shelters.

This is a significant increase, as City data reveals from 2007 to 2016 there have been 250 reported shelter deaths in total, with an average of 25 per year.

The 2017 data states 81 per cent of the deceased were male and the majority of deaths occurred in those aged 40-49, with the median age of the deceased being 48.

What is Toronto Public Heath's goal in collecting of this data on homeless deaths?

Though in its early stages, this data will be used to inform partners in heath and social service, as well as aid city efforts to address the current situation.

Long term, the data will allow Toronto Public Heath to gain a better understanding of the various factors associated with the deaths of homeless people, spokesperson Paul Fleiszer told Metroland. Acknowledging those individuals who die homeless and understanding the circumstances behind their deaths will ultimately help to improve the health of this vulnerable population and in turn, reduce health inequities in Toronto, he added.

What you need to know about Toronto shelters this winter

News Nov 14, 2017 by Veronica Appia City Centre Mirror

This week, the City of Toronto will be initiating its plans to amp up efforts amid an ongoing shelter crisis.

On Nov. 15, four new 24-hour drop-in centres will be made available, with a fifth opening shortly afterward on a date still pending by the city.

The City will also be adding beds to existing shelters over the course of the winter to help alleviate overcapacity.

By the end of December, 203 beds are expected to be in place; 60 beds for men will be made available when the Salvation Army's New Hope shelter opens in December, 63 beds are being added at the Seaton House and 80 beds for refugee families are becoming available through the city's family motel program, Patricia Anderson, Manager of Partnership Development and Support for Toronto's Homelessness Services told Metroland Media.

Here's what you need to know about Toronto's shelter crisis and the current plan to tackle it.

What are the main shelter service changes the City of Toronto is implementing this year?

Aside from the addition of beds and five additional 24-hour centres, the City is extending warming shelter services into April 2018  a decision made following the cold weather patterns last spring.

Last week, council also adopted a plan for managing refugee flows, which includes allotting additional funds to existing refugee shelter partnerships and beginning a new contract with COSTI Immigrant Services, as well as taking a number of steps to aid in the processing of refugee claims and the demand of emergency services.

The City is also implementing new plans for community engagement; amending its strategy for property research, planning and site approvals; and continuing the George Street Revitalization project.

In addition to this, City of Toronto will be piloting a new service model at six approved sites in 2018 in an attempt to help people using these shelters to find permanent housing quickly and long term.

The locations for the 2018 pilot sites are as follows:

Homes First (702 Kennedy Rd.)

Salvation Army New Hope - Leslieville (29 Leslie St.) to open by year end

YouthLink (747 Warden Ave.) to open in 2018

City of Toronto Birchmount Residence (3306 Kingston Rd.) to open in 2018

George Street Revitalization Temporary Location (731 Runnymede Rd.) to open in 2018

Egale Canada (257 Dundas St. E) to open in 2018

How many people access Toronto's shelters?

According to the most recent City of Toronto data, from 2012 to 2016, more than 16,000 unique people used the shelter system, with more than 5,000 visiting shelters on any given night.

Where are the emergency shelters located?

The four new 24-hour centres will open Wednesday at the following locations:

Yonge and Bloor (21 Park Rd.)

Downtown East Site (323 Dundas St. E.)

Downtown West Site (25 Augusta Ave.)

Scarborough Site (705 Progress Ave.)

The fifth site will be located in Parkdale at an address that has yet to be released.

The existing emergency shelters, with contact information, can be found on the map below.

What are the occupancy rates in emergency shelters?

City of Toronto data reveals that from May 2016 to May 2017 the emergency shelter system saw a 17.5 per cent increase as a whole.

The Daily Shelter Census (last updated Nov. 13) states occupancy rates were last at 97 per cent for co-ed shelters, 96 per cent for men's shelters, 98 per cent for both women's shelters and youth shelters, 100 per cent for family shelters and 93 per cent for family motels. The Out of the Cold program, which opened Nov. 1, was last recorded with an occupancy rate of 100 per cent with one site open.

Council approved a 90 per cent occupancy threshold, but current capacity remains steadily above that number.

What accounts for the recent increase in Toronto's homeless population?

According to City data, 66 per cent of homeless people cite Toronto's high rents are the primary reason for their homelessness.

A combination of lack of affordable housing and low vacancy rates lead to people spending a prolonged amount of time in emergency shelters, Anderson added. This results in a snowball effect, as people spending more time in emergency shelters results in less beds for others who are newly entering the system.

The City has also seen a surge in refugee flows in recent years, contributing to the requirement of more emergency shelters. City data shows that in 2016 alone, there was an 80 per cent increase in refugees seeking these services.

How many homeless people die in the city each year?

Toronto Public Health has just recently began monitoring the deaths of the entire homeless population, and data from January to September 2017 shows that a total of 70 homeless people have died 46 of them in shelters.

This is a significant increase, as City data reveals from 2007 to 2016 there have been 250 reported shelter deaths in total, with an average of 25 per year.

The 2017 data states 81 per cent of the deceased were male and the majority of deaths occurred in those aged 40-49, with the median age of the deceased being 48.

What is Toronto Public Heath's goal in collecting of this data on homeless deaths?

Though in its early stages, this data will be used to inform partners in heath and social service, as well as aid city efforts to address the current situation.

Long term, the data will allow Toronto Public Heath to gain a better understanding of the various factors associated with the deaths of homeless people, spokesperson Paul Fleiszer told Metroland. Acknowledging those individuals who die homeless and understanding the circumstances behind their deaths will ultimately help to improve the health of this vulnerable population and in turn, reduce health inequities in Toronto, he added.

What you need to know about Toronto shelters this winter

News Nov 14, 2017 by Veronica Appia City Centre Mirror

This week, the City of Toronto will be initiating its plans to amp up efforts amid an ongoing shelter crisis.

On Nov. 15, four new 24-hour drop-in centres will be made available, with a fifth opening shortly afterward on a date still pending by the city.

The City will also be adding beds to existing shelters over the course of the winter to help alleviate overcapacity.

By the end of December, 203 beds are expected to be in place; 60 beds for men will be made available when the Salvation Army's New Hope shelter opens in December, 63 beds are being added at the Seaton House and 80 beds for refugee families are becoming available through the city's family motel program, Patricia Anderson, Manager of Partnership Development and Support for Toronto's Homelessness Services told Metroland Media.

Here's what you need to know about Toronto's shelter crisis and the current plan to tackle it.

What are the main shelter service changes the City of Toronto is implementing this year?

Aside from the addition of beds and five additional 24-hour centres, the City is extending warming shelter services into April 2018  a decision made following the cold weather patterns last spring.

Last week, council also adopted a plan for managing refugee flows, which includes allotting additional funds to existing refugee shelter partnerships and beginning a new contract with COSTI Immigrant Services, as well as taking a number of steps to aid in the processing of refugee claims and the demand of emergency services.

The City is also implementing new plans for community engagement; amending its strategy for property research, planning and site approvals; and continuing the George Street Revitalization project.

In addition to this, City of Toronto will be piloting a new service model at six approved sites in 2018 in an attempt to help people using these shelters to find permanent housing quickly and long term.

The locations for the 2018 pilot sites are as follows:

Homes First (702 Kennedy Rd.)

Salvation Army New Hope - Leslieville (29 Leslie St.) to open by year end

YouthLink (747 Warden Ave.) to open in 2018

City of Toronto Birchmount Residence (3306 Kingston Rd.) to open in 2018

George Street Revitalization Temporary Location (731 Runnymede Rd.) to open in 2018

Egale Canada (257 Dundas St. E) to open in 2018

How many people access Toronto's shelters?

According to the most recent City of Toronto data, from 2012 to 2016, more than 16,000 unique people used the shelter system, with more than 5,000 visiting shelters on any given night.

Where are the emergency shelters located?

The four new 24-hour centres will open Wednesday at the following locations:

Yonge and Bloor (21 Park Rd.)

Downtown East Site (323 Dundas St. E.)

Downtown West Site (25 Augusta Ave.)

Scarborough Site (705 Progress Ave.)

The fifth site will be located in Parkdale at an address that has yet to be released.

The existing emergency shelters, with contact information, can be found on the map below.

What are the occupancy rates in emergency shelters?

City of Toronto data reveals that from May 2016 to May 2017 the emergency shelter system saw a 17.5 per cent increase as a whole.

The Daily Shelter Census (last updated Nov. 13) states occupancy rates were last at 97 per cent for co-ed shelters, 96 per cent for men's shelters, 98 per cent for both women's shelters and youth shelters, 100 per cent for family shelters and 93 per cent for family motels. The Out of the Cold program, which opened Nov. 1, was last recorded with an occupancy rate of 100 per cent with one site open.

Council approved a 90 per cent occupancy threshold, but current capacity remains steadily above that number.

What accounts for the recent increase in Toronto's homeless population?

According to City data, 66 per cent of homeless people cite Toronto's high rents are the primary reason for their homelessness.

A combination of lack of affordable housing and low vacancy rates lead to people spending a prolonged amount of time in emergency shelters, Anderson added. This results in a snowball effect, as people spending more time in emergency shelters results in less beds for others who are newly entering the system.

The City has also seen a surge in refugee flows in recent years, contributing to the requirement of more emergency shelters. City data shows that in 2016 alone, there was an 80 per cent increase in refugees seeking these services.

How many homeless people die in the city each year?

Toronto Public Health has just recently began monitoring the deaths of the entire homeless population, and data from January to September 2017 shows that a total of 70 homeless people have died 46 of them in shelters.

This is a significant increase, as City data reveals from 2007 to 2016 there have been 250 reported shelter deaths in total, with an average of 25 per year.

The 2017 data states 81 per cent of the deceased were male and the majority of deaths occurred in those aged 40-49, with the median age of the deceased being 48.

What is Toronto Public Heath's goal in collecting of this data on homeless deaths?

Though in its early stages, this data will be used to inform partners in heath and social service, as well as aid city efforts to address the current situation.

Long term, the data will allow Toronto Public Heath to gain a better understanding of the various factors associated with the deaths of homeless people, spokesperson Paul Fleiszer told Metroland. Acknowledging those individuals who die homeless and understanding the circumstances behind their deaths will ultimately help to improve the health of this vulnerable population and in turn, reduce health inequities in Toronto, he added.