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March 14, 2017
City of Toronto extends cold weather drop-in services to April 15
The City of Toronto has extended two continuous cold weather drop-in services, which have been available on a continuous basis for most of the winter, until April 15, and a third until March 18:
• Margaret's Toronto East Drop-in Centre (323 Dundas St. East) remains open until April 15.
• The overnight program at St. Lawrence Community Centre is available by referral from March 18 through to April 15.
• Services at St. Felix Centre (25 Augusta Ave) are open 24/7 until March 18. After that the site returns to its regular daytime drop-in programming – unless there is an Extreme Cold Weather Alert in effect, in which case it becomes a 24/7 service starting by 3 p.m. on the day an alert is called and ending by noon on the day the alert is terminated.

"No one should be without a warm place to spend the night in Toronto and I'm glad that St. Felix Centre and Margaret's have been willing to help," said Mayor John Tory. "I'm grateful that staff and the charities that provide this needed service have found a way to help some of our city's most vulnerable residents."

"Given the terrible weather conditions we have been experiencing this week, I am pleased we are extending 24/7 cold weather services for those who need them until mid-April," said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. "This adds to the strong supports and strategy already in place and should provide comfort and help for those in need. Toronto remains committed to maintaining one of Canada's better shelter systems."

The City operates two 24-hour services for women year round, and the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre is open 24/7 for anyone looking for street respite or a shelter referral. An additional 85 sleeping spaces continue to be available Friday, Saturday and Sundays. As well, cold weather beds are available and are put on line as needed. While not part of the permanent shelter system, most of the Out of the Cold programs also remain open until late March and six operate into April.

Despite the steady move of people out of shelters and into homes of their own, demand for emergency shelter spaces continues to be high. The nightly average use in February was close to 10 per cent higher than a year previously. Shelter demand from families continues to be high, in part because of a significant increase in intakes from families seeking refugee status. The number of clients citing refugee status as the reason for needing service has grown to almost 20 per cent of all shelter service users.

The City's response to rising demand for shelter is to make more beds available and to heighten coordinated efforts to house long-term users of the shelter system. Since the beginning of January, an estimated 275 people experiencing homelessness and staying in shelter or "sleeping rough" have moved into homes of their own through the combined work of staff in City and community operated shelters and outreach programs.

Since December 2016, almost 400 beds have been added to the system:
• 174 additional motel beds have been offered since mid-December, providing relief mainly in the family sector.
• A 60-bed women's program opened in Scarborough before Christmas and operates at near capacity.
• The new 30-bed men's program on Bloor Street West opened January 11 and has been full most nights since January 13.
• Red Door's 96-bed temporary program for families is mostly open now. Red Door will return to its permanent home on Queen Street East once construction is complete on its new facility.
• Sojourn House is operating a 36-bed winter program for single male refugees.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Patricia Anderson
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration



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