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Toronto Shelter Users to Have Better Access to Health Services

News Release

Toronto Shelter Users to Have Better Access to Health Services

Province and City Providing More Support for People that are Homeless

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is working with the City of Toronto to improve access to health services for people that are homeless or using shelters.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Arthur Potts, Member of Provincial Parliament for Beaches-East York, and Toronto Mayor John Tory were at New Hope shelter in Leslieville today to announce a new initiative to improve access to essential health services, including primary care and mental health supports, for shelter users.

This new collaborative approach between Ontario and the City of Toronto will begin in five new shelters across the city that will provide more than 300 beds to vulnerable people who often have complex health needs.

A new Advisory Committee of shelter operators, shelter users and health service providers has also been created to provide ongoing advice on improving access to health services for shelter users. 

Ontario is also providing funding to open 244 new permanent supportive housing units across Toronto for people living with mental illness and addictions, especially those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Earlier this month, the province announced that it will be making 354 George Street available to the City of Toronto to use as a new temporary shelter.

Quick Facts

  • Health care providers, shelter operators, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and city staff are working together to develop and implement the shelter health services pilot project over the next few months.
  • The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funds approximately 6,900 units of supportive housing for people living with mental illness or addictions, as well as other vulnerable people, in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • The province is undertaking substantial renovations at 354 George Street, including to the building’s HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems to prepare the facility for the City of Toronto to use as a temporary shelter.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness, Ontario has set a goal to end chronic homelessness by 2025.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Dr. Eric Hoskins

“I want to thank front-line shelter workers and health service providers for their tireless work and advocacy on behalf of shelter users, who are some of the most vulnerable, underserved individuals in our communities. Our government is committed to continuing to work together with all our partners to find innovative solutions to improving access to needed health services for shelter users and increase the supply of supportive housing units in Toronto and across Ontario.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Peter Milczyn

“We are committed to ending chronic homelessness in Ontario by 2025. New supportive housing spaces will help us get closer to that goal by finding permanent housing for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Getting people into homes is vital to helping them live their lives to their fullest potential.”

Peter Milczyn

Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy

“The root cause of a good deal of the homelessness and shelter issues Toronto is facing tie back to mental health and addiction issues. Homelessness is a very real urban issue in Canada, and addressing it is the responsibility of all citizens and all levels of government. I want to thank the Ontario government for working with the City of Toronto to implement long-term solutions to address this complex issue and its roots.”

John Tory

Mayor of Toronto

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