Ending Homelessness

We know that the time for coordinated and innovative action is now.  

With all three levels of government seemingly committed to a strong homelessness and housing agenda we have, for the first time in a very long time, a seminal opportunity to effectively ending chronic and episodic homelessness in Toronto.  

To do so, the TAEH is coordinating a city-wide effort to:

  • Raise public awareness about the issue and the personal and economic benefits of addressing homelessness  
  • Drive a capital fundraising campaign to support the creation of new deeply affordable housing 
  • Seek funding commitments and innovative solutions for sustainable support services
  • Quell NIMBYism
  • Enable more evidence based housing and support services to be developed and deployed
  • Demand necessary policy and regulatory changes that will provide focused and sustainable means of ending homelessness

Defining homelessness

(from the the Federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy):

  • Chronically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions (e.g. chronic physical or mental illness, substance abuse problems), who are currently homeless and have been homeless for six months or more in the past year (i.e., have spent more than 180 cumulative nights in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation)

  • Episodically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions, who are currently homeless and have experienced three or more episodes of homelessness in the past year (of note, episodes are defined as periods when a person would be in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation, and after at least 30 days, would be back in the shelter or inhabitable location)

The definitions of chronically and episodically homeless individuals include all sub-populations, such as Veterans and/or Aboriginals. The definitions also include individuals exiting institutions (e.g. child welfare system, mental health facilities, hospitals, and correctional institutions) who have a history of chronic and episodic homelessness and cannot identify a fixed address upon their release.

Examples include:

  • Individuals who have been homeless (in a shelter or living on the street) for three to five months over a year.
  • Individuals who experienced two or more episodes of homelessness over a year.
  • Individuals currently in transitional housing.


quick facts about homeless in toronto (2013)

  • Estimated number of homeless people sleeping outdoors and in emergency shelters, Violence Against Women shelters, and in health and correctional facilities in Toronto on the night of April 17, 2013: 5,253

  • Estimated number of people sleeping rough in April 2013: 447

  • Percentage increase in total homeless population since the previous assessment in 2009: 1.6

  • Percentage of all homeless who are men: 65

  • Percentage of outdoor homeless who are men: 85

  • Percentage of outdoor homeless who self-identify as Aboriginal: 33 (In comparison, 1% of the general population in Toronto identifies as Aboriginal.)

  • Percentage of homeless people reporting experience in the Canadian military: 7

  • Percentage of those staying in youth shelters identifying as part of the LGBTQ community: 21

  • Percentage of the homeless population aged 51 or older: 29

  • Number of shelter beds expected to be used on an average night in 2014: 3,941 (This is 5.3% higher than in 2013.)

  • Number of days of the average shelter stay in 2013: 72 (This is an increase from 63 in 2012 and 53 in 2011.)

  • Percentage of homeless people who want a permanent home: 93

  • Percentage of homeless people saying that what they really need to get out of homelessness is help paying Toronto’s high rents: 66

  • Percentage of Toronto renting households paying more than 30% of their income on rent: 43.5

In addition, a recent shelter census conducted on May 17, 2016 showed that 4160 beds were occupied and that occupancy rates were very high.  In the women’s sector the occupancy rate was 98%, in the youth sector it was 97%, in the men’s sector it was 96% and in the family and co-ed sector respectively it was 95 and 94%.