For Immediate Release

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20,000 Homes Campaign houses 21,254 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people, including 4,710 in Toronto. CAEH launches new national effort – Built for Zero Canada – to end chronic homelessness.

TORONTO (March 6, 2019) – Today the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) launches a new national effort to end chronic homelessness after its 20,000 Homes Campaign successfully housed 21,254 of Canada's most vulnerable homeless people. We are now Built for Zero Canada.

Built for Zero Canada (BFZ-C) is an ambitious national change effort helping a core group of leading communities end chronic homelessness – a first step on the path to eliminating all homelessness in Canada. Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH)  joined the 20,000 Homes Campaign in spring of 2016 and will continue with BFZ-C.  

“Homelessness is a crisis that has lost its sense of urgency” says Tim Richter, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness President & CEO. “The 20,000 Homes Campaign created a sense of urgency in communities across the country and helped energize efforts to end homelessness.

“Most importantly our community partners ended homelessness for 21,254 people and we learned together what it really takes to end chronic homelessness. We’ll apply those lessons through Built for Zero Canada to help communities across Canada end chronic homelessness.”

BFZ-C uses a structured, supportive and data-driven approach that focuses on optimizing local homeless systems, accelerating the adoption of proven practices and driving continuous improvement.

“Communities are using real-time, person-specific data on everyone experiencing homelessness to build more coordinated homeless systems and reduce chronic homelessness,” says Marie Morrison, 20,000 Homes Campaign Director, and now Director of Built for Zero Canada. “This relentless data-driven performance improvement approach is getting results and showing that together, we can end chronic homelessness.”

 “We are proud of our contribution towards the 20,000 Homes campaign.  We have learned that doing things differently and collectively is the key to reducing and eventually ending chronic homelessness,” says Kira Heineck, Executive Lead Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness.  “The guidance, practices and information we received through 20,000 Homes and its participating communities have helped shaped our local initiative, ZERO TO which is our plan to end chronic homelessness in Toronto.”

Core elements of the 20,000 Homes Campaign and Built for Zero Canada are embedded in Canada’s new homelessness strategy, Reaching Home, which launches in April. The 20,000 Homes Campaign was supported by a grant from Employment and Social Development Canada.

“Community leadership, evidence-based decision making and building coordinated systems are at the heart of Reaching Home” says the Hon. Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “I want to thank CAEH and most importantly the communities of the 20,000 Homes Campaign for your efforts and congratulate you on your success.”

“We have learned a great deal from our partnership with you and look forward to working closely with you through the implementation of Reaching Home. Together I believe we can meet, and even go beyond the ambitious goals of Reaching Home to cut chronic homelessness in half across the country. Together we will continue to work towards our common vision of eliminating homelessness in Canada.”

For more information, visit


·         An estimated 235,000 people experience homelessness every year in Canada. People experiencing chronic homelessness are deeply impoverished and typically suffer from a range of complex medical, mental health, addiction and trauma-related challenges. 

·         Based on the 2018 Street Needs Assessment  it is estimated that there were 8,715 people experiencing homelessness on April 26, 2018 in Toronto. City shelters are currently at 95% capacity with over 6,700 families and individuals using the City’s shelters and respite sites daily (as of March 4).

·         Toronto housed 4,710 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness as part of the 20,000 Homes campaign.

·         There are 38 communities participating in Built for Zero Canada (BFZ-C). Eleven of these communities have achieved quality By-Name Lists and all are working to strengthen or put in place Coordinated Access Systems.  Two communities have achieved verifiable reductions in chronic homelessness.  

·         A By-Name List is a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness in a community. A Coordinated Access System is a way for communities to design, streamline, and bring consistency to the process by which people experiencing homelessness access housing and services. Functional zero means a community has three or fewer people experiencing chronic homelessness over three months. The community works to sustain functional zero, drive for the complete elimination of chronic homelessness and move on to ending homelessness for other groups, ultimately ending homelessness for all.

·         Under Reaching Home, communities will be expected to develop By-Name Lists of all people experiencing chronic homelessness, develop Coordinated Access Systems and implement the Homelessness Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS). BFZ-C is supporting the work of its communities to develop these tools and implement HIFIS.

·         BFZ-C is a part of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. Founded in 2012, the CAEH leads a national movement of individuals, organizations and communities working together to end homelessness. 

CLICK HERE for a Dropbox Link to more background information and resources. 

Media Contact:
Stefania Seccia
Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

Daphna Nussbaum
Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness

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When homelessness becomes chronic

By Mira Miller

Friday March 1, 2019

Deputation for January 23, 2019 on Housing Now Initiative

On January 23, 2019, TAEH deputed at at the Executive Committee’s council meeting on its Housing Now Initiative. Deputations were delivered by several TAEH community partners and can be found through the links below:

Background Information from Committee

(January 23, 2019) Presentation from the Deputy City Manager, Community and Social Services on Implementing the Housing Now Initiative 
(January 11, 2019) Report and Appendices 1 to 4 from the City Manager on Implementing the "Housing Now" Initiative 
(January 9, 2019) Report from the City Manager on Implementing the "Housing Now" Initiative - Notice of Pending Report 

TAEH Deputations

(January 22, 2019) E-mail from Paul Dowling, Human Rights Working Group, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (EX.Supp.1.1.2) 

(January 23, 2019) Letter from Brian Davis, Houselink Community Homes and Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (EX.Supp.1.1.5) 

(January 23, 2019) Letter from Daphna Nussbaum, Solutions Manager, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (EX.Supp.1.1.7) 

(January 23, 2019) E-mail from Jean Stevenson, Madison Community Service and Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (EX.New.1.1.14) 

We must stop just managing homelessness and work to end it


Opinion Tues., Jan. 22, 2019


Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness welcomes the redesigned Federal Homelessness Partnership Strategy

June 11, 2018 (TORONTO): The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) joined their voice in supporting this morning’s announcement of the redesigned Federal Homelessness Partnership Strategy (HPS). The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development presented “Reaching Home: Canada’s Homeless Strategy”, in Toronto.

“The TAEH welcomes the announcement of an enhanced and redesigned HPS as the final part of Canada’s new National Housing Strategy,” said Mark Aston, Chair, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH). “We believe that today brings the most significant and important change to the HPS since the introduction of the National Homelessness Initiative in 1999; changes that we can use to better address homelessness and to end it faster.”

Set to go into effect on April 1, 2019 and run through to 2029, the revised housing strategy was based on the findings and recommendations of the federal Advisory Committee on Homelessness.  Lead by led by local MP Adam Vaughn, on May 18, the committee released their advice and recommendations to Minister Duclos and the government, as well as a “what they heard” document during the consultations over the previous year. 

Said Kira Heineck, Executive Lead, Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness, “We congratulate the Advisory Committee, MP Adam Vaughn, and Minister Duclos and his government on their commitment to acknowledging the voice and role of people with lived experience throughout the new HPS.  Indigenous experience, leadership and strategies as an equal and mainstream part of the HPS redesign is also critical. TAEH looks forward to doing our part in learning from, and developing true collaboration with Indigenous leaders and communities in addressing homelessness in Toronto.”

The announcement also brings good news for Toronto with key opportunities that the TAEH and its partners can take to strengthen the work towards zero homelessness in the city. Observed Heineck,”The new homelessness partnering strategy highlights key areas that we’ve been asking the government to address such as increased local flexibility, a re commitment to Housing First,  a data driven and performance based program and co-ordinated access.”

“Last winter was incredibly difficult for our city’s most vulnerable population,” commented Aston.  “As homelessness continues to rise and more people are seeking shelter beds or respite services, today is an opportunity for all orders of government to also commit a designated percentage of the  overall National Housing Strategy dollars to create housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness.”

Mark Aston, Chair TAEH and Kira Heineck, Executive Lead TAEH are available for media interviews.


About the TAEH
The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH) is a community-based collective impact initiative that recognizes the critical importance of working in a new way towards a common goal.

Our Vision
Zero chronic and episodic homelessness in Toronto.

Our Mission
To mobilize the collective impact necessary to effect change in Toronto to achieve and maintain zero homelessness.

Media Contact:
Daphna Nussbaum
Solutions Manager, TAEH
416.892.5038 (cell)




Bringing MYTORONTO to life in our city has been an inspiring and important part of the Alliance's development over the last year. We are proud partners with Ve'ahavta on this and are moved by the support from other organizations such at the Inner City Family Health Team and Habitat Services. And the City of Toronto, Media Profile, Cota and Fred Victor.

Watch this video to see the talent of those experiencing homelessness right now as they capture Toronto in wonderful photographs. We will, together, keep working to end homelessness and the people, voices and art showcased here remind us why it is so important.

The full Toronto Star piece is here: 2,400 images. 100 cameras. Seeing Toronto through a different lens



CBC News – April 24 – The City of Toronto launches ads to dispel myths about the homeless

Metro News – April 25 – New Toronto poster campaign addresses homelessness myths

Huffington Post Canada – April 25 – Toronto For All Ad Campaign Forces Viewers To Confront Myths About Homelessness

AM640 (listen at 16:15 for interview) – April 25 – Topics worthy of Discussion - Tuesday April 25

blogTO –April 26 –  New ad campaign takes aim at NIMBY Toronto

NOW Toronto – May 9 – Why we need to check our prejudices about panhandlers

Toronto Star – May 18 – Homeless shelters belong in all communities