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January 21, 2009
Toronto’s second Street Needs Assessment set for April 15 - Volunteers can register on-line right now
Toronto’s Street Needs Assessment will take place on the evening of April 15.

This will be the second time the city has amassed the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, community agency and City staff to take to the streets and shelters to ask homeless people about their service and program needs. The first Street Needs Assessment took place April 19, 2006. The results helped shape significant changes to how the City approached homelessness issues, resulting in increased emphasis on helping homeless people to find and keep permanent housing.

“The information we gather during the Street Needs Assessment is critical to helping people get into permanent housing,” said Mayor David Miller. “This year’s survey will build on the benchmarks we established during the first survey and help us see what progress we are making toward our goal of ending street homelessness.”

“In the first Street Needs Assessment, more than 750 volunteers took part in administering the survey,” said Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31 Beaches-East York), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. “The feedback we got from Torontonians was tremendous. They were excited by the opportunity to get involved in helping homeless people. Volunteering in the Street Needs Assessment is a great way for Torontonians to get involved in a city-wide effort to end street homelessness. You can sign up on-line today.”

The Street Needs Assessment is a 10-question survey that helps the City estimate the number of homeless people at a specific point in time. It also provides a snap shot of demographic and other information such as services used and what assistance would help people who are homeless get and keep permanent housing. Using proven statistical methods, a minimum of 5,052 people were estimated to be homeless on Toronto’s streets, and in ravines, parks, shelters, health care facilities, and correctional institutions on the night of April 19, 2006. The 2009 survey will contain the same questions so that the data can be compared.

“We know that homeless people want to have a direct voice in identifying their needs,” said Phil Brown, General Manager of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration. “In Toronto, we listen directly to those we are trying to help.”

This year, members of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA), Canada’s national social housing association dedicated to ensuring that Canada has decent affordable housing for all, will be invited to participate as volunteers in the Street Needs Assessment as part of their national Congress to be held in Toronto April 15 to 18.

“Our theme is ‘Renewing Our Communities,’” said David Eddy, CHRA’s President and Executive Director of the Vancouver Native Housing Society. “Volunteering to participate in such community initiatives as the Street Needs Assessment demonstrates the citizen engagement that is important to any community wanting to build a sustainable, inclusive and healthy place for all its citizens.”

Members of the public wanting to register as volunteers for the 2009 Street Needs Assessment can do so at

For more information about the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association:

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Patricia Anderson, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, 416-397-4328, 647-272-8935 (cell),



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