Shelter System Update

Over the past year, there has been a 30% increase in the average nightly use of shelter beds. The City has strived to meet this unprecedented demand by opening over 1,000 spaces during this period. In advance and during this winter, the City opened a number of 24/7 Winter Respite and Warming Centres to ensure that there are homelessness supports for anyone seeking them during and after the extreme cold weather that Toronto experienced.

An Open Letter that I worked on with City Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy, Paula Fletcher, Gary Crawford, James Pasternak, Joe Mihevc and Mayor John Tory was also released last week. The Open Letter recommends a series of actions that should be taken to address the pressures in Toronto's shelter system. Please click here for a copy of the letter for more information. This letter was approved at Community Development and Recreation Committee and will now be brought forward for final City Council approval.

You may recall that I previously worked together with Councillor Fletcher to develop the First Step Housing initiative to transform our shelter system to include wrap around supports and social services to help people overcome challenges and lead successful lives. The First Step Housing Report that was created also outlines a overhaul of how and where we locate shelters in order to better engage with and support local communities. You can find a link to the First Step Housing Report by clicking here.

I look forward to continuing to work together with my Council colleagues to help create new shelter and housing opportunities for Torontonians. I would also like to once again express my appreciation to the hardworking City staff, community partners and volunteers for their work to provide homeless services during the winter months and throughout the year.

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