The homeless population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to crowding in the shelter system and underlying conditions that range from mental health problems to addiction issues and chronic heart and lung problems. In addition, the closure of, or restricted access to, many businesses and services has left them without places to eat, use the bathroom, and wash their hands.
City Services & Facilities
All City-operated shelters, respites, and drop-ins remain open, and support activities continue. The City has committed to make all shelter services safe through proper physical distancing.
For shelter referral, call the City’s Central Intake Line at:
- 1-877-338-3398 (toll-free)
You will be asked about your current health and recent travel history and then referred to an available shelter, respite site, or isolation site.
Streets to Homes outreach is ongoing. If you or someone you know needs street outreach call 311.
At the start of the pandemic, there was a moratorium on clearing encampments because of the challenge of ensuring physical distancing in shelters and respites. However, the City is now offering people living in encampments indoor shelter with appropriate physical distancing (in shelters, respites, transitional housing, and hotels/motels).
For information about the City's housing and shelter services including Access to Housing and the Rapid Housing Access Initiative with Toronto Community Housing, visit the City's website.
The Toronto Drop-in Network (TDIN) maintains a comprehensive list of drop-in washroom and shower facilities, public washrooms, and portable toilets and handwashing stations.
TDIN also lists drop-ins still operating indoor spaces and takeaway meals (updated regularly).
City of Toronto Resources for Partners
Note: Information changes quickly. The most up-to-date information and resources are shared on the City's website.
- Interim guidelines to respond to COVID-19
- FAQ for organizations serving the homeless population
- COVID-19 Protocol for Families with Children
- Checklist for Clients Referred for COVID Testing
- Arranging for Non-Emergency Transportation to COVID-19 assessment centres
- COVID-19 Referral Flow Chart
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for clients
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for staff and visitors
Other Homelessness Sector Resources
The Homelessness Learning Hub is sharing timely, relevant, and evidence-based information for the youth homelessness sector, and shows examples of what is being done in communities (e.g., case studies and how-tos). This page will continue to be updated.