Toronto’s shelter system is in an undeclared state of emergency. As an annual response to cold winter temperatures coupled with an overcrowded shelter system, the City of Toronto (i.e. “the City “) opens temporary Winter Respite Centres, also known as warming centres. In order to better understand the state of these ad hoc responses to homelessness, Health Providers Against Poverty (HPAP) visited eight Winter Respite Centres, as well as the two 24-Hour Drop-ins for Women and Trans People. Our findings demonstrate that Winter Respite Centres and Drop-ins for Women and Trans People fail to meet the most basic standards as set out by the United Nations and the City itself.

We are calling on the city to immediately open 1,500 new and permanent shelter beds; the provincial government to immediately increase social assistance rates to match the basic income pilot study amounts; and on the federal government to spend the new $11.2 billion allocated to the national housing strategy within the next two years.

You can find the full report here:

HPAP – An Evaluation of Toronto’s Warming Centres and Winter Response to Homelessness