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Toronto’s homeless population unchanged from 2009

According to early results from the 2013 Street Needs Assessment, the overall homeless population in Toronto is estimated at 5,219, about one per cent higher than the 2009 estimate.

The estimate of the homeless population living outdoors increased by 24 per cent this year compared to 2009.

An interim report summarizing early findings of the point-in-time estimate and survey done by staff and volunteers on April 17, 2013 is available online. A staff report containing full data and analysis, as well as comments regarding impact on service provision and policy, will go to the Community Development and Recreation Committee for consideration at the committee’s September meeting.

Key findings contained in the interim report include:

Toronto’s population of homeless people staying outdoors, in emergency shelters, and in correctional and health care facilities in Toronto on the night of April 17, 2013, is estimated at 5,219. That is about one per cent higher than the 2009 estimate.

The number of seniors (aged 61 and older) within the homeless population has more than doubled since 2009 and now stands at 10 per cent.

Health care services, particularly hospitals and ambulances, are now the services used most often by homeless people in Toronto.

The vast majority of those experiencing homelessness want permanent housing, but continue to face barriers accessing it.

The most important supports are programs and services that help make housing more affordable, such as housing allowances.

Nearly 20 per cent of homeless youth identify as part of the LGBQT community, more than twice the rate of other age groups. This is the first time the survey asked about sexual orientation.

More than four out of five homeless people have lived in Toronto for more than a year. This is the first time respondents were asked about residency in Toronto.

The estimate of Toronto’s outdoor population increased by 24 per cent.

More than a third of those sleeping rough self-identify as Aboriginal; in 2009, it was 28 per cent.

Sixteen per cent of those sleeping outdoors say they have served in the Canadian military. The question was not asked in 2009.

The interim report is available at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact  
Patricia Anderson
Manager,Partnership Development
Shelter,Support and Housing
[email protected]