5 drop-in centres for the homeless will operate 24/7 this winter in Toronto.

City getting ready to fight Winter.

There will be five 24/7 drop in centres for the homeless this winter as well as additional beds in the city’s shelter system. All the centres will provide at least 250 beds to supplement the city’s shelter system. The centres will also offer warm meals and referrals to other community services.

The drop-in centres are funded by the city but operated by community not-for-profit agencies.These are “safe place to go” for those individuals who are unwilling to enter city-run shelters.

Paul Raftis, the general manager of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration said, “The biggest change this year is that we are really extending the winter season to cover the entire winter, so they are going to open up on Nov. 15 and run right through April 15. There were some of these services available last year 24 hours a day for a section of the winter but not the entire season. This year we are increasing the number of spaces and the length (of time they are available).”

He said, “We do know that some individuals won’t access the shelter system, which is why it is important to put forward these five winter respite sites.”

In addition to the five new drop-in centres, the city says that its shelter system will expand by about 135 beds to have a total capacity of 5,651 by Dec. 31.