City of Toronto opens new shelter at 4117 Lawrence Ave. E.

The City of Toronto opened a new shelter at 4117 Lawrence Ave. E. as part of its ongoing strategy to create new permanent shelter beds. This new facility will provide critical emergency shelter and support services to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.

The City is committed to supporting residents experiencing homelessness and ensuring they have access to safe, indoor emergency shelter and help to find permanent housing quickly. From April 2020 to April 2021, 5,518 people experiencing homelessness moved from the shelter system into permanent housing.

Following a Toronto City Council directive in February 2018 to provide 1,000 new permanent shelter beds in Toronto, the City began identifying possible locations. The site at 4117 Lawrence Ave. E. was selected for its proximity to public transit, parks, amenities and community services. Situated in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighbourhood in the Scarborough-Guildwood ward, the shelter represents the arrival of needed services in Scarborough.

The City's newest shelter will be operated in partnership with Homes First Society, an established service provider with more than 35 years of experience. Both the City and Homes First Society are committed to the safety and security of shelter residents, staff and the broader community. The shelter will have highly trained staff who are fully equipped to respond to the diverse needs of people experiencing homelessness, including crisis management, trauma assistance, informed care, harm reduction and day-to-day support.

While this fully accessible, co-ed shelter has a capacity for up to 89 beds, this number has been reduced to 55 beds to operate in accordance with COVID-19 infection, prevention and control measures (IPAC), including physical distancing requirements. In addition to beds, there is dedicated space for primary care and health care and community space for programming, events, community partnerships, workshops and volunteer engagement. In alignment with the City's Shelter Design and Technical Guidelines launched in January 2021, https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/emergency-shelter-operators/shelter-design-technical-guidelines/, the site is pet-friendly and features a commercial kitchen, a dining area and laundry facilities.

The City works with dedicated community partners like Homes First Society to provide client-centered, outcome-focused services that help people find and keep stable housing and improve their overall well-being. This site is part of the more than 6,000 spaces in Toronto's emergency shelter system, the largest in Canada. The City ensures that vulnerable people can access emergency shelter when they need it and are assisted in finding permanent housing as quickly as possible. More information about 4117 Lawrence Ave E. can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/emergency-shelter-operators/about-torontos-shelter-system/new-shelter-locations/shelter-replacement-expansion-projects/4117-lawrence-ave-e/ A video tour of this shelter is available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H32DpbImuo