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  • 1. Toronto Shelter StandardsCommunity & Neighbourhood ServicesShelter, Housing & Support
  • 2. Toronto Shelter StandardsAcknowledgementsMembers of the Inter-departmental City Staff Working GroupCarolyn Amell, Children’s Services Karen Mann, Shelter, Housing & SupportJoann Braithwaite, Toronto Public Health Tricia Marcellin, Shelter, Housing & SupportIain De Jong, Shelter, Housing & Support Rudy Mumm, Social Development & AdministrationAlice Gorman, Toronto Public Health Fiona Murray, Shelter Housing & SupportAnne Longair, Shelter, Housing & Support Susan Shepherd, Social Development & AdministrationBarbara MacGibbon, Shelter, Housing & Support Don Taylor, Shelter, Housing & SupportMembers of the Community Reference GroupRichard Barry, Executive Assistant to Councillor Jack Layton (Advisory Committee on Homeless and SociallyIsolated Persons)Nancy Blades, Sistering (West-end Drop-in Sector)Lori Borer, St. Stephen’s Corner Drop-in (Advisory Committee on Homeless and Socially Isolated Persons)Will Coukell, Horizons for Youth (Youth Shelter Sector)Laura Cowan, Street Health (Health Sector)Michelle Gilchrist, St. Simon’s Church (Out of the Cold)Patricia Guy-Small (community member)Bruce Hallet, Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (Alternative Housing and Services Committee)Tammy Hookway, Mary’s Home (Single Women’s Shelter Sector)Donna Johnson, Toronto Community Hostel (Family Shelter Sector)Sheryl Lindsay, Hostel Outreach Program (Mental Health Sector)Stephen Meredith, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Harm Reduction Task Force)Miranda Pinto, Catholic Cross-cultural Services (Refugee Sector)Enrique Robert, Open Door Centre (East-end Drop-in Sector)Greg Rogers, Native Men’s Residence (Aboriginal Shelter Sector)Nancy Sidle, COTA (Scarborough Homelessness Committee)Christina Strang, Meal-Trans Program (Transgendered/Transsexual Sector)Brad Thrupp (community member)Denise Toulouse, Anishnawbe Biindged Program (Street Outreach Sector)Aklilu Wendaferew, Good Shepherd Centre (Single Men’s Shelter Sector)
  • 3. Toronto Shelter StandardsOther City Staff AssistanceRuth Aguilar, Shelter, Housing & Support Art Manuel, Seaton HouseChris Brillinger, Social Development & Administration Scott Maywood, Toronto Police ServicePhil Brown, Shelter, Housing & Support Evelyn Mitchell, Women’s ResidenceBryon Clark, Shelter, Housing & Support Karen Myers, Shelter, Housing & SupportDonna Clark, Shelter, Housing & Support Sheryl Pollock, Shelter, Housing & SupportDavid DeLuca, Shelter, Housing & Support Sarah Rix, Social Development & AdministrationSandra Fraser-Hatton, Corporate Services Cynthia Ross, Shelter, Housing & SupportSarah Funston-Mills, Corporate Access & Privacy Elaine Smyer, Shelter, Housing & SupportSean Goetz-Gadon, Shelter, Housing & Support Fred Towers, Shelter, Housing & SupportCharna Gord, Toronto Public Health Dympha Walko-Channan, Corporate ServicesJohn Jagt, Shelter, Housing & Support Zell Wear, Shelter, Housing & SupportGerry Lawrence, Toronto Public Health Deb Wharton, Toronto Public HealthThanks to:Teresa Cameron, Daily Bread Food Bank Kenn Richard, Native Child and Family ServicesZoe Cormack-Jones, Second Harvest Trish Robinson, St. Michael’s HospitalLeslie Gash, Dixon Hall Nick Saul, The Stop Community Food CentreKiaras Gharabaghi, Eva’s Initiatives Kyle Scanlon, 519 Church Street Community CentreTracey Holtz, St. Michael’s Hospital Nicci Stein, 519 Church Street Community CentreJake Pyne, 519 Church Street Community Centre 1
  • 4. Toronto Shelter Standards Table of Contents 1. Introduction 4 1.1 The Municipal Role 4 1.2 Organizational Overview of Hostel Services 5 1.3 Program and Site Review 5 1.4 Financial Viability 6 2. Guiding Principles 7 3. Standards of Organization 8 3.1 Organizational Status for Purchase-of-Service Shelters 8 3.2 Governance 8 3.3 Financial Accountability 8 3.4 Program Accountability 9 3.5 Conflict of Interest 9 4. Access to Shelter 11 4.1 Admission and Discharge 11 4.2 Bed Registration for Incoming and Registered Residents 12 4.3 Occupied Bed 12 4.4 Overnight Passes and Leaves with Permission 13 4.5 Substance Use 13 4.6 Service Restrictions (Barrings) 13 4.7 Meeting the Needs of Transgendered/Transsexual/Two-spirited Residents 14 5. Resident Rights and Responsibilities 15 5.1 Resident Input 15 5.2 Complaints and Appeals 162
  • 5. Toronto Shelter Standards 6. Program Standards 17 6.1 Provision of Essential Services 17 6.2 Counselling Supports 17 6.3 Daytime Access 18 6.4 Services to Children 18 6.5 Duty to Report Suspected Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect 19 6.6 Confidentiality 19 6.7 Sharing of Resident Information 19 6.8 Resident Information and Resident Files 20 6.9 Staff Code of Conduct 20 7. Food Safety and Nutrition Standards 22 8. Health and Safety Standards 24 8.1 Health Standards 24 8.2 Safety Standards 25 8.3 Resident Medication 25 8.4 Weapons 26 9. Staff Training 2710. Glossary of Terms 2911. Appendixes 33 3
  • 6. Toronto Shelter Standards 1. Introduction The Shelter Standards were developed through a series of consultations with a Community Reference Group The City of Toronto partners with community agencies and an Inter-departmental City Staff Steering Committee. to provide emergency shelter and assistance to home- As part of the process, we reviewed best practices, less families and individuals. The City has a responsibility conducted key informant interviews, held focus groups to the residents who are served and to ensure that with shelter residents, consulted with shelter operators shelters meet acceptable standards. and reviewed shelter access policies. Shelter Standards The City directly operates shelters and also contracts are intended to reflect the input and interests of the with community non-profit shelters through purchase- municipality, shelter operators, relevant stakeholders, of-service agreements. The City has a long history of shelter residents and local communities. providing emergency shelter for people who are homeless. Since the 1980s, the emergency shelter 1.1 The Municipal Role system has grown rapidly and the face of homelessness The Ontario Works Act defines the provision of has changed. The growth in the shelter system is emergency hostel services as a discretionary service. attributed to increasing unemployment, government The City of Toronto administers shelter assistance cuts to social programs, increasing rates of poverty, through purchase-of-service agreements with community cuts to social assistance rates and a lack of affordable agencies. The City also directly operates emergency rental housing. shelter facilities. The shelter system has become more specialized Funding for emergency shelters is provided through the and flexible to meet new needs within the homeless Ontario Works Act and is cost-shared between the population. The shelter system today includes more province and municipalities, up to a maximum provincial transitional shelters, specialized programs such as harm per diem contribution of $30.40. Municipal funds are reduction, and a wide variety of supports and services. approved by Toronto Council through the annual The City promotes the delivery of safe, accountable operating budget process. and cost-effective services for homeless people. The City of Toronto’s Hostel Services fulfills the The City is committed to ensuring that shelter service municipal role by: is delivered in ways that help homeless people to gain entering into contractual arrangements (purchase access to housing and support services, provide choices, of service agreements) with community-based respect diversity and ensure public value for funding. agencies and providers to purchase shelter assistance for people who are homeless In order to meet this commitment, Shelter Standards have been developed to provide shelter operators and administering a shelter system through directly residents with a clear set of expectations and guide- operated and purchase-of-service shelters lines for the provision of shelter services in Toronto. managing directly operated shelters All emergency and transitional shelters, funded or ensuring that all directly operated and purchase- directly operated by the City of Toronto, are required of-service programs meet the Shelter Standards to adhere to the Shelter Standards. and the contractual obligations as set out in the purchase-of-service agreement.4
  • 7. Toronto Shelter Standards1.2 Organizational Overview 1.3 Program and Site Review of Hostel Services All shelters must meet the Shelter Standards as partHostel Services: of their purchase-of-service agreement with the City operates within the Shelter, Housing and of Toronto. Shelters entering into their first purchase- Support Division of the Community and of-service agreement with the City of Toronto must Neighbourhood Services Department demonstrate their ability to meet the Shelter Standards reports to Toronto City Council through the or have developed a detailed plan to ensure all standards Community Services Committee. are met within six months of receiving funding.The mandate of the Shelter, Housing and Support Agency Review Officers are Hostel Services staffDivision is to contribute to healthy communities by responsible for administering the purchase-of-serviceensuring that people have a range of shelter and agreements with shelters and ensuring complianceaffordable housing options. The division provides with Shelter Standards. The role of the Agency Reviewtemporary shelter and support for homeless individuals Officer is to:and families, while creating and maintaining permanent administer purchase-of-service contractsaffordable housing solutions. ensure contract compliance complete site reviews at directly operated and Shelter, Housing and Support Organization purchase-of-service shelters to evaluate shelter policies, procedures and records to determine General Manager, Shelter, if the requirements outlined in the Shelter Housing & Support Standards and the purchase-of-service Social Housing agreement are being met Hostel Services Administration provide information and assistance to shelters review and resolve complaints Housing & Homelessness Housing Development Supports & Initiatives “Lets Build organize and facilitate inter-agency forums of shelter operators to enhance communication, Finance & service co-ordination, and support best practices Partnership Development & Support Administration be the central point of contact for shelter operators provide training regarding Shelter Standards toThe mandate of Hostel Services is to provide shelter shelter staff and Boards of Directorsand assistance to homeless individuals and families, assist in the development of new shelter programs.and to assist them to arrange for their housing and/ortreatment needs. Agency Review Officers complete site reviews, and the results of the review are discussed in detail with the shelter operator and kept on file. Copies of all site review reports are forwarded to the shelter operator and Board of Directors. Any concerns outlined must be rectified before the purchase-of-service agreement is renewed. 5
  • 8. Toronto Shelter Standards 1.4 Financial Viability To ensure that organizations with purchase-of-service agreements are able to provide stable and continuous care to people who are homeless, the City of Toronto evaluates financial viability of agencies. Past financial history — as detailed in financial statements, statements of net worth, capital reserve funds, and approved annual operating budgets — form the basis of the financial assessment.6
  • 9. Toronto Shelter Standards2. Guiding Principles 8. The health and safety of residents, volunteers and staff is of the highest importance in each shelter.The Shelter Standards are grounded in the following Training, policies, procedures and regular main-principles and values that promote a philosophy for tenance are intended to encourage, improve andservice provision. These principles and values are not maintain the health and safety of all peopleshelter standards, but rather help guide the delivery of residing, volunteering and working in the shelter.shelter services. 9. People who are homeless have few resources and 1. All homeless persons have the right to shelter the shelter system is often their final option to service regardless of political or religious beliefs, receive the basic necessities of life: food and ethno-cultural background, (dis)ability, gender shelter. Issuing service restrictions in the shelter identity and/or sexual orientation. Staff must system must be done only as a last resort and in respect and be sensitive to the diversity of the most serious cases. residents. Discriminatory and racist incidents 10. People who are homeless, like other members of or behaviours are not tolerated. our community, may use substances to varying 2. The shelter will provide an atmosphere of dignity degrees. Everyone is entitled to shelter service and respect for all shelter residents, and provide whether or not they use substances. As a result, services in a non-judgmental manner. admission, discharge and service restriction policies must not be based on substance use 3. Residents are capable of moving toward increasing alone, except for those shelters operating on an levels of self-reliance and self-determination. abstinence basis. To increase the accessibility of Shelter staff will work with residents to assist the shelter system and to respond to diverse them in achieving their goals. resident needs, a range of service approaches 4. Shelters will be sensitive to the ethno-specific from abstinence to harm reduction must be and linguistic needs of residents. Staff will work available within the shelter system. to ensure residents have access to culturally 11. In order to provide effective shelter programs appropriate interpreter services and that written and services, shelter residents must be involved materials are available in other languages. in service provision, program planning, develop- 5. Gender identity is self-defined. Sometimes this ment and evaluation, and policy development. may not correspond with a person’s physical 12. Shelters that include children and youth must appearance. Service providers need to accept provide supports and activities and ensure that the gender identity as defined by the individual school-related, recreation and treatment needs rather than by the perception of staff and/or other of resident children are met on-site or through residents. referral to community-based services. 6. Shelter staff often have access to detailed and 13. The shelter should offer an opportunity for children highly sensitive personal information about and youth with developmental and/or physical residents. Protecting the privacy and confiden- disabilities to develop their full potential within tiality of shelter residents and their personal an environment where they can interact and information is of the utmost importance. socialize with other children. 7. All people staying in shelters will have access to 14. Shelters are part of a larger network of homeless safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. services and agencies. Collaboration within this network is important to ensure effective and 7 co-ordinated services.
  • 10. Toronto Shelter Standards 3. Standards of reviewing budgets and expenditures reviewing and approving accounting and report- Organization ing procedures selecting and conducting an annual performance 3.1 Organizational Status for review of the Executive Director. Purchase-of-Service Shelters A group operating a shelter must be incorporated as a The board must have a sufficient number of directors non-profit organization under the laws of Ontario or with the range of skills required to fulfill this role. Canada, and must be registered as a Canadian Charity The board must convene regular board meetings, an under the Income Tax Act. annual general meeting and maintain written records of The agency must abide by the Ontario Corporations these meetings. Board minutes and minutes from the Act, the Income Tax Act, the Charities Accounting Act, annual general meeting must be signed by a board the Charitable Gifts Act and any other applicable member to verify acceptance. legislation, regulations, bylaws and policies. Minutes from the annual general meeting will be sent to The agency’s Articles of Incorporation, most recent Hostel Services as part of the yearly funding submission. bylaws, Revenue Canada Business number, purpose or mission statements and contact information for the 3.3 Financial Accountability Executive Director and Board of Directors must be on On an annual basis, all shelters must provide program file with Hostel Services. and financial information to Hostel Services in a form Agencies must adhere to the City of Toronto declaration specified by the City of Toronto. All annual budget of non-discrimination policy and anti-racism policy. submissions must be submitted, in the specified format, to the City by a date determined by the City of Toronto. An annual service agreement is developed for all 3.2 Governance agencies with an expiry date of December 31st of Purchase-of-service shelters must be operated by a each year. Service agreements must be signed by a volunteer Board of Directors. board member with agency signing authority. The Board of Directors is responsible for: Agencies will invoice the City monthly for all services ensuring the mandate, mission, values and provided in the previous month. Documentation, as strategies of the organization are followed required by legislation and Hostel Services, will setting agency priorities accompany monthly claims for payment. A shelter’s reviewing and approving policies average monthly bed occupancy must not exceed the bed capacity specified in the service agreement. evaluating services Agencies will only be reimbursed up to the maximum ensuring that the organization meets funder bed capacity and per diem specified in the service expectations and contract conditions including agreement. compliance with Shelter Standards8
  • 11. Toronto Shelter StandardsBookkeeping and financial records will be set up The shelter will not introduce any ancillary servicesaccording to current accounting procedures, and that detract or interfere with the effective delivery ofan annual audit will be conducted by a qualified their shelter program, and if in doubt, should discussindependent auditor. All financial records, including such plans in advance with Hostel Services staff.resident information for per diem and personal needs The shelter, board and/or management are responsibleallowance payments, must be kept for a minimum of for ensuring that staff performance and accountabilityseven years for financial audit purposes. are properly monitored and evaluated. The agencyRandom audit checks of shelters will be conducted that must have a system of staff supervision and regularlywill require bed logs to be provided when requested by scheduled performance evaluations.Hostel Services. Bed logs must be kept for a minimum All shelters must have a system in place for recordingof seven years for financial audit purposes. unusual incidents. The recording of the incident should include identifying any residents who were3.4 Program Accountability involved in or witnessed the incident in the event ofStaff of Hostel Services conduct site reviews and visit a criminal investigation.the shelter throughout the year on an as-needed basis. Any incidents of a serious nature must be reportedStaff will periodically visit the agency at other times immediately to an Agency Review Officer, Hostelto conduct unannounced checks including random Services at 416-392-8741. An incident report must beaudits. The shelter will provide the Hostel Services completed within 24 hours of all serious occurrencesrepresentatives with reasonable access to the premises involving fire, death, severe assault/accidental injuriesand to financial and service records. The purpose of and/or attempted suicides requiring medical assistance,the visits will be to observe the program in action and and occurrences involving a firearm. One copy of theto verify that the program is functioning in accordance incident report must be forwarded within 24 hours towith the conditions of funding. During visits, Hostel Hostel Services.Services staff may wish to meet with agency staff, board/committee members, volunteers and shelter residents. 3.5 Conflict of InterestAn operational review of a shelter may be undertaken Conflict of Interest for the purposes of this documentif, at any time, Hostel Services staff are concerned that is defined as:an agency is not meeting its contractual obligations, A situation in which an individual uses or is perceivedincluding following the Shelter Standards. A review to use information, influence and/or resources of anmay also be undertaken if an agency repeatedly fails organization primarily for personal benefit, benefit toto fulfill or follow the conditions of its bylaws or one’s family, or insurance against personal loss, or forincorporating documents. that of related organizations to which they belong, without prior disclosure of affiliation. 9
  • 12. Toronto Shelter Standards In cases of conflict of interest, the individual must declare the conflict through the appropriate channels. The Board of Directors will need to be aware of situations where there is an appearance of conflict of interest, take action and seek out advice where appropriate. The following are examples of activities that may place agency and/or volunteers in positions of conflict of interest: a member of the Board of Directors filling a regular salaried staff position or contract position without first resigning their position on the board a member of the Board of Directors receiving an honorarium from the agency for providing services to the agency a staff, director or volunteer interviewing a relative for employment with the same agency a staff or board member renting property they own to residents a staff or board member employing a resident in another context outside the agency.10
  • 13. Toronto Shelter Standards4. Access to Shelter Residents should be discharged from a shelter with a plan in place. There is no standard length of stay in the shelter system. Length of stay is based on individual4.1 Admission and Discharge circumstances and determined on a case-by-case basisAdmission and discharge records for all residents by the shelter.must be maintained by all shelter operators showingname, date of birth, reason for service, date of admis- In cases where it is necessary to transfer a resident tosion and discharge, and reason for discharge. another shelter, shelters should work co-operatively whenever possible.Shelters must be able to admit new residents at alltimes during their hours of operation, provided that the Exceptional circumstances where residents may beapplicant is eligible for service and space is available. discharged without a plan in place include assault of staff or residents, other violent behaviour, possessionThe shelter must have clearly written criteria, policies of weapons, trafficking in illegal drugs, or seriousand procedures for admission. A copy of admission behaviours that compromise the health and safety ofand discharge policies must be on file with Hostel other residents and/or staff.Services and re-submitted if revised. Shelters may exceed their capacity for a limited periodShelter rules and resident rights and responsibilities of time as authorized, and with the prior approval ofmust be explained to all residents at admission or as Hostel Services, in cases of Extreme Cold Weathersoon as reasonably possible. Alerts or unforeseen emergencies.Resident bed logs must be maintained at each shelter During Extreme Cold Weather or Heat Alerts, it isand contain the name of resident, date of birth, assigned necessary that all shelters relax service restrictions,room and bed number, time in (if after curfew), admission eligibility criteria and extend daytimeovernight or late pass and discharge information. access hours wherever possible in order to minimizeShelters that are not able to admit a person who is risk factors to homeless persons.homeless for whatever reason must provide a referral toanother shelter or other appropriate facility. The sheltermust provide a referral, confirm the bed is availableand provide transportation assistance if required.Shelters must maintain records of all in-person andtelephone-requested admissions. All requests foradmission should include the person’s name, reasonfor non-admittance and to where the person wasreferred. The total number of requests for admissionmust be submitted monthly to Hostel Services on aform provided (see Appendix A). 11
  • 14. Toronto Shelter Standards 4.2 Bed Registration for Incoming 4.3 Occupied Bed and Registered Residents All shelters must determine the time of their final bed The following standards regarding bed registration are count, and the final count must be conducted at this only applicable to single adult and youth emergency set time every night. The final bed count must fall shelters. Transitional and family shelters are exempted between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. For from these standards. Specialized programs such as harm shelters that are unable to perform physical bed reduction programs may be exempted with approval counts during these hours it is expected that shelters from Hostel Services. will develop a tracking system to determine who is in the shelter during the final count. In the single adult and youth emergency shelter system, beds reserved for incoming residents should be held for The final bed count must be recorded on a form pro- a maximum of two hours, except by special request vided by the City of Toronto, and be consistent with or extenuating circumstances such as employment, bed occupancy information submitted for payment appointments or travel time to the shelter. If the person (see Appendix B). has not arrived by the end of the agreed upon time An occupied bed is defined as a bed that is physically period, the bed must be released. occupied by a resident when the resident count is taken. In the single adult and youth emergency shelter system, This will include residents who are temporarily out of beds must not be held after curfew unless the resident their beds, but present elsewhere in the shelter during has made prior arrangements with staff and received the time of the count, and residents on a documented permission to be late due to shift work (examples and approved overnight pass/leave with permission include persons working in a factory, restaurant or sex that is based on their case plan or due to an trade industry), cultural, religious, or family obligations. unforeseen emergency. In situations where the resident who has not returned by curfew requires special accommodation due to health, mental health or addiction issues, shelters may hold the bed until the following morning to see if the person will return. However, in the event the shelter receives a request for a bed that they are unable to accommodate or refer to another shelter, it is expected that they will admit the person for one night only in the held bed or on an emergency cot. The following day, the shelter must refer the new resident to another shelter if the other resident has returned and they can not accommodate them within their own shelter.12
  • 15. Toronto Shelter Standards4.4 Overnight Passes and Leaves Shelters operating on an abstinence model must iden- with Permission tify how abstinence is defined within their program, and have City approval to operate an abstinence-basedIn order to ensure people needing shelter have access facility. When a shelter cannot accommodate a residentto it, overnight passes for people staying in the shelter under the influence of a substance, a referral to anothersystem must only be used in exceptional and limited shelter must be made. Referral agreements with shelterscircumstances. Granting overnight passes or leaves that can accommodate people using substances will bewith permission should be based on the resident’s established and will include the following elements:case plan and support the goal of improving their a list of shelters with which referral agreementshousing situation (for example, overnight visits to are in placefamily to support the goal of family reunification). a process for contacting the receiving shelter toEmergency overnights may also be granted on a case- ensure the resident can be accommodatedby-case basis (for example, medical emergencies, a process for providing support to the resident tofunerals, etc.). The City of Toronto will only provide help them reach their destinationa per diem payment for absent residents when theleave is based on their case plan or for an emergency a process for follow-up with the receiving sheltersituation. to ensure the resident has arrived.Leaves with permission or overnight passes cannotexceed three days without the approval of the Agency 4.6 Service Restrictions (Barrings)Review Officer. All shelters must have a policy regarding service restrictions, and a copy of this policy must be on file with Hostel Services and re-submitted if revised.4.5 Substance Use Policies must clearly outline the reasons for serviceWith the exception of abstinence-based shelters, restrictions and the internal shelter process to appeal,admission and discharge decisions cannot be based review and lift restrictions regularly.upon substance use alone, but should be based onbehaviour. Shelter operators must be open about their Residents will be made aware of the service restric-admission and discharge policies, to ensure residents tion policy upon admission or as soon as reasonablyand other service providers understand the basis on possible. The service restriction policy must be postedwhich people may be allowed or denied access to a in an area accessible to residents.shelter if they are under the influence of a substance. All service restrictions issued by shelters must be authorized by the Executive Director. Shelter staff must inform the resident the reason for the service restriction, the date it will be reviewed with the resident and the date the service restriction will be lifted. Shelter staff must ensure that the resident has an alternate place of shelter and facilitate a transfer to another shelter or other destination. 13
  • 16. Toronto Shelter Standards Shelters must maintain records of all service restrictions. Shelters will be required to develop a process detailing Records must include name of resident, date the service how they will ensure accessibility to the TG/TS/2-S restriction is issued, reason for service restriction, date community that will be reviewed by Hostel Services. the service restriction is to be reviewed with the resident, The process to ensure accessibility may include date the service restriction will be lifted, shelter or other reviewing current shelter policies relating to access, destination to which the resident was referred, signature developing new policies specific to this group, of staff who issued the service restriction, and signature completing staff training, designating beds, etc., of senior staff who approved the service restriction. and must be conducted in consultation with the TG/TS/2-S communities. All residents who wish to appeal the service restriction will be given the name and contact information of the For shelters that are not yet able to accommodate Agency Review Officer. TG/TS/2-S residents, referrals to programs and services that are able to meet their needs, in their Long-term service restrictions (over a period of six identified gender, must be completed. months) will only be issued in the most serious cases that compromise the safety and security of shelter Shelters are encouraged to organize staff training staff and residents. Hostel Services will be notified regarding TG/TS/2-S people, which is facilitated of any long-term service restrictions. by these communities. All shelters must report service restrictions on a monthly basis to the City of Toronto on a form provided (see Appendix C). 4.7 Meeting the Needs of Transgendered/Transsexual/ Two-spirited Residents It is expected that all shelters be accessible to the transgendered/transsexual/two-spirited (TS/TG/2-S) residents in their self-defined gender, and that shelters will work toward improving access to this group. Shelters will support the choices of TG/TS/2-S residents to gain access to services in the gender they identify will best preserve their safety. As a first step, shelters will be required to identify how they respond to people who are TS/TG/2-S seeking shelter service, so that Hostel Services and people who are TS/TG/2-S are aware of which shelters can meet their needs.14
  • 17. Toronto Shelter Standards5. Resident Rights Residents are responsible to: Follow the rules of the shelter. and Responsibilities 1. Treat shelter staff and other shelter residentsEach shelter will adopt a written policy concerning the with respect.rights and responsibilities of residents. The policies 2. Respect the private property and belongings ofmust be posted in a common area of the shelter and other shelter residents.be communicated to residents through various ways 3. Respect the private property and belongings ofsuch as intake, admission and resident meetings. the shelter.At a minimum, the rights and responsibilities of 4. Work with staff to improve their housing situationresidents should include the following: within their capacity.Residents have the right to: 1. Expect that the standards outlined in this document 5.1 Resident Input will be followed. Resident input will be sought in all areas of program 2. Be treated in a non-judgemental and respectful way. planning, program development, policy development and program evaluation. This may include exit 3. Be free from discrimination and harassment. interviews, discharge surveys, one-on-one interviews, 4. Have a fair and clear complaint and appeal resident surveys, resident focus groups and/or process without fear of punishment. residents’ meetings. 5. Receive safe, adequate and nutritious food. Shelters must identify communication mechanisms 6. Provide input and feedback into shelter between the Board of Directors and shelter residents. programs and policies. This may include resident advisory committees, 7. Be involved in decisions that affect them. newsletters, and posting of board and committee 8. Identify reasonable goals and receive support minutes that are applicable to residents in an from staff to achieve them. accessible area. 9. Be given information about services and Shelters must hold residents’ meetings no less frequently resources in order to make informed decisions. than once a month to get resident opinions, input and10. Have forms and requests for information feedback on shelter operations and proposed policy or explained. program changes. Residents should be encouraged to11. Have personal information treated confidentially. attend these meetings. A written record of meetings must be kept and posted in an area accessible to residents.12. Contact Hostel Services for information, concerns Family shelters should have separate meetings for or to lodge a complaint. parents and children/youth. Shelters will assist the City of Toronto in its imple- mentation of any system-wide survey of shelter residents. 15
  • 18. Toronto Shelter Standards 5.2 Complaints and Appeals The shelter will respond professionally and appropri- ately to all complaints from residents, neighbours and resident advocates, and will co-operate with Hostel Services in its review of any such complaints, including allowing Hostel Services staff on the premises to conduct an unannounced site visit or interview with staff and/or residents. Each shelter must have an internal process for resolving complaints, and must inform residents of this process. All shelters will post their complaint process, keep a written record of formal complaints and a written record of the resolution. Complaints are a valuable source of information from shelter residents. The agency and/or Board of Directors should collect, evaluate and analyze all complaints so that patterns can be noted and adjustments can be made. Individuals who wish to make a complaint to the fun- der will be given the number of Hostel Services and directed to speak with an Agency Review Officer.16
  • 19. Toronto Shelter Standards6. Program Standards If laundry facilities are available, shelters may require residents to launder their own bedding and towels as long as instructions on how to use the laundry facilities6.1 Provision of Essential Services safely are provided. Shelters may provide laundry soapEach resident will be offered a bed with a mattress, or require residents with an income source to purchasepillow and necessary bedding. The use of mats or cots these supplies themselves.will be used in exceptional circumstances only and mustbe approved in advance by the Director of Hostel Shelters will help residents obtain basic clothing andServices, including minimum size requirements and footwear for all seasons by using internal resourcesthickness. Each resident will still be provided a pillow and/or connecting residents with other communityand bedding. agencies and resources.It is important to provide a minimum amount of space Residents will be assisted in obtaining items neededper person in the sleeping area, to decrease the potential to maintain basic hygiene and grooming. Sheltersspread of illness, to enhance personal security and to must, at a minimum, have a supply of soap, shampoo,decrease altercations resulting from a lack of personal shaving products and feminine hygiene products forspace. To meet these goals, the sleeping area will pro- emergency use by residents. Shelters may continuevide 3.5 square metres (37.7 square feet) per person. to provide these products throughout a resident’s stay or, if residents have an income source, may requireFor safety reasons, for example in the event of an residents to purchase these supplies themselves.evacuation, a separation distance of 75 cm (2.5 feet)between the edge of beds (bunks or mats) must be When it is within the financial resources of the shelter,maintained (see Appendix D for examples of floor residents will be provided with the public transit fareplans that illustrate the spacing). needed to attend school, employment, treatment or housing searches.To assist residents in meeting their hygiene and sani-tary needs, each shelter must provide a minimum of: one toilet for every 15 residents up to the first 6.2 Counselling Supports 100 residents, and one toilet for every 30 resi- All shelters must provide assistance and support to dents thereafter (urinals may replace up to half residents in the following areas: the number of required toilets) assistance and referral to obtain appropriate housing one washbasin for every 15 residents (with liquid assistance in obtaining financial benefits if eligible soap and paper towels) referrals to appropriate services or resources one shower for every 20 residents. assistance to obtain clothing and transportation.Clean bedding consisting of a minimum of twosheets, a blanket and pillow case and a minimum ofone shower towel will be provided to each residentupon admission and will be changed weekly or when-ever these articles become soiled. 17
  • 20. Toronto Shelter Standards Shelter staff who provide counselling or case manage- In instances where residents have an income ment support to residents will have a suitable level (e.g., employment income, Ontario Disability Support of education achieved through community college, Program, Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan or university or other accredited institution and/or rele- other income support programs), staff should assist vant experience. Ongoing professional development residents to develop a financial plan that will support and supervision will be provided by the agency and them in their future housing goals. Shelter residents may include case conferences, case supervision, are not eligible to receive Ontario Works while residing workshops and training courses. in a shelter. Shelters that offer a counselling and/or case manage- Shelters are encouraged to assist residents without ment program must include the following core functions: identification to obtain it. In cases where residents leave the shelter and their whereabouts are unknown, Assessment – an evaluation detailing the residents’ identification should be safeguarded whenever possible. service needs and resources to meet the service needs, current and potential strengths and areas to work on. 6.3 Daytime Access Planning – developing a case plan in collaboration Daytime access provision must be in place for people with each resident containing goals and timelines. who work overnight shifts, as described in section Referrals – information regarding the process of 4.2, or who are ill, provided they are not in need of referring residents to all necessary internal and medical care. Some shelters may require a doctor’s external services. note specifying the medical need and timeline for accommodating residents during the day. Monitoring – the continuous evaluation of the case plan with the resident to monitor progress, reassess goals Shelters that are unable to provide daytime access and priorities, and identify new goals as appropriate. must arrange for the transfer of any resident who requires this service to a shelter or other program Advocacy – interceding appropriately on behalf of that provides daytime access. a resident or group of residents to ensure access to needed services or resources. 6.4 Services to Children Collaboration – developing partnerships with relevant There should be a variety of age-appropriate play community-based and/or government agencies to experiences for children and youth available within co-ordinate and provide services to shelter residents. the shelter or off-site. Follow-up – providing support and assistance directly, Play materials must be safe, in good condition and or through referrals to agencies, to residents who have complete. Play materials should be bias-free, non-violent, moved to the community. developmentally appropriate and represent diversity. All toys and equipment must be washable and large enough to prevent swallowing or choking. Toy washing schedules must be in place and followed.18
  • 21. Toronto Shelter StandardsSchedules should include, at a minimum, that infant 6.5 Duty to Report Suspected Casestoys are washed as used, toddler toys are washed weekly, of Child Abuse and Neglectand toys for older children are washed as required. All shelters and staff are obligated to report any sus-Program plans and/or outlines of planned activities pected cases of child abuse or neglect, and to followmust be posted or provided to parents. the legislative requirements of the Child and Family Services Act (see Appendix E).Excursions and/or field trips must be safe, fun and age-appropriate. Shelters must have a lost child policy in All shelters and staff will work in compliance withthe event a child goes missing. child welfare agencies.All displays in children and youth activity areas shouldbe non-racist, non-violent, non-sexist, anti-bias and 6.6 Confidentialityfree of all stereotypes. Each shelter must have a written policy concerning the collection, use and disclosure of resident information.The shelter should actively seek involvement of supportagencies through partnership development to provide Written policies concerning confidentiality shoulddirect, on-site support or by providing information on include the following:community resources to parents. Shelters must not disclose personal information about a shelter resident without a signed consent from theParental involvement should be encouraged through resident.direct participation in children and youth programsand/ or by providing access to resources outside of Exceptions to this practice include:program hours. when refusing or neglecting to provide information could endanger the safety ofShelters serving youth (ages 13 to 18) should provide another individual or group of individualsrecreational, educational and social activities on-site disclosure of resident information by staff isor off-site, and which are separate from children’s required under the Child and Family Services Actprograms or activities. disclosure is required as per a court orderChildren must be registered in school during their stay or subpoena.at the shelter. Children residing in shelters often attendthe local school, but parents may elect for the child to 6.7 Sharing of Resident Informationcontinue attending their previous school. Sharing of resident information with other providers to which the resident may be referred is necessary toShelters will support and encourage parents to use ensure effective provision of services, continuity ofnon-violent ways of disciplining their children. care and efficient use of resources. The importance ofShelters must have a policy outlining the requirements sharing information with relevant providers will befor residents or others to babysit children residing in explained to the resident and only disclosed withthe shelter, including the maximum number of children signed resident consent.a resident may be responsible for at any one time. 19
  • 22. Toronto Shelter Standards Consent to Release Personal Information forms should 6.9 Staff Code of Conduct include the following information: Shelters must have a staff code of conduct outlining date of disclosure professional behaviour for shelter staff. At a minimum, resident name a staff code of conduct should include the following: name of the shelter and contact person that is Staff will: disclosing the information 1. Maintain the best interests of the resident as their type of information to be disclosed primary goal. name of the shelter and contact person the 2. Acknowledge the power inherent in their position information is being disclosed to. and strive to minimize the impact of the power differential. 6.8 Resident Information and 3. Be respectful of residents, fellow employees, and Resident Files any other person with whom they come in contact during the course of their duties. Files containing resident information must be kept in a secure location and locked to maintain confidentiality. 4. Carry out professional duties and obligations with integrity, objectivity and equity. Shelters must have written policies concerning the 5. Ensure residents have the necessary information privacy, security and confidentiality of resident infor- to make informed decisions. mation maintained in electronic format (e.g., password 6. Acknowledge that the work-site is someone protected, use of mobile devices, remote access, etc.). else’s home, and be mindful of their presence Removing case files from the shelter premises for especially in communal and sleeping areas. business-related purposes is not encouraged due to the 7. Be accountable for all interactions with residents, potential breach of privacy and security of resident community members and staff. information. In exceptional cases, when shelters are 8. Acknowledge when they are in a situation they required to take case files off-site, written policies are not skilled or comfortable to handle, and and guidelines must be in place to ensure the security, seek support from colleagues and supervisors. privacy and confidentiality of resident information. 9. Follow their agency policies and procedures Agencies must have policies regarding resident access around staff behaviour and conduct. to personal information and records. Policies should include: a process for residents to request informal access to and/or copies of their case files a process for residents who have been denied informal access to their case files, which includes instructions for City-operated shelters, for formal requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.20
  • 23. Toronto Shelter StandardsStaff will not: 1. Discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnic/cultural background, sexual orientation, age, (dis)ability, religious belief, socio-economic status, etc. 2. Use abusive, discriminatory language. 3. Impose their own personal beliefs/standards on residents. 4. Exploit their relationship with a resident for personal benefit, gain or gratification. 5. Become involved in a resident’s personal life beyond their professional function. 6. Have personal relations with current or previous residents as outlined in the shelter’s policies of conduct. 7. Accept gifts or services from current or previous residents. 21
  • 24. Toronto Shelter Standards 7. Food Safety and For pregnant or breastfeeding women, shelters will ensure that additional food portions and/or a high- Nutrition Standards protein or high-calorie drink or bar are available. Adult residents must be served three meals and at For women who are not breastfeeding, shelters will least one healthy snack per day. Children under the ensure that baby formula and the proper preparation age of 16 must be served three meals and two to three equipment and safe storage space are provided. healthy snacks per day. A meal is comprised of food Where residents are not provided funds to purchase from at least three food groups. A snack is comprised food, baby food should be made available to families of at least two food groups, with an emphasis on fruit with infants. In shelters where funds are provided, an and vegetable and grain products. emergency supply of baby food should still be available. Meals must be of a size, quality, variety and nutritional A poster stating shelters cannot guarantee allergen- value to meet the recommended daily intake based on free food (e.g., peanuts, nuts, eggs and shellfish) Canada’s Food Guide (see Appendix F). Minimum should be posted in the dining area. meal servings are listed in the chart below. Shelters that are serving food with potential allergens Residents who are known to be undernourished or such as peanuts, nuts and shellfish should attempt to underweight should be medically assessed, and if alert residents. medically indicated, should be offered additional food portions and/or a high-protein or high-calorie drink or Residents who do not eat meat will have access to bar over and above regular meals. protein-based vegetarian options (for example, beans or soy-based products). A bag/box lunch may be substituted for a regular meal or a missed meal to be offered to residents who Food preparation will, as much as possible, reflect the routinely are absent during a meal period to attend cultural diversity of the shelter residents. Every attempt school, treatment or employment, or other activities should be made to mark special cultural holidays and as approved by shelter staff. In addition, food should traditional occasions with special meals. Shelters will be made available to residents being admitted after post the daily menu in a visible location for residents regular meal times. whenever possible. Servings per meal Meal Grain Products Vegetables & Fruit Meat & Alternatives* Milk Products* Breakfast 1–2 1–2 1 1 Lunch 2 2 1 1 Dinner 2 2 1 1 * Either or both a serving of dairy product or meat/protein alternative should be served at each meal.22
  • 25. Toronto Shelter StandardsShelters providing meals to residents should ensure A copy of Canada’s Food Guide will be posted in thethat a mechanism is available to allow residents to dining room of each shelter. A copy of the Shelterprovide input and feedback (for example, residents Standards Food Safety and Nutrition section will bemeetings, surveys, etc.). posted in the dining room of each shelter.Shelters that do not prepare meals must provide Within the first 10 days of the start of employment,residents with funds to purchase food. Shelters that all food preparation staff will be provided withdo not prepare meals must ensure that adequate information/orientation on the following topics:facilities are available for residents to safely store, Food Safety Guidelines for Sheltersprepare and eat their own meals. Canada’s Guideline for Health EatingShelters where residents are involved in meal Food Premises Regulations.preparation must encourage the highest possiblelevels of hygiene in the food preparation and foodstorage areas. This includes posting hand-washingsigns, cleaning refrigerators regularly, etc.Shelters with 10 or more residents are consideredto be a “food premises” under the Food PremisesRegulations and will be regularly inspected byToronto Public Health (see Appendixes G and H).Each shelter must have at least one current staffmember who is working in food preparation witha certificate from the Food Handlers program.All food in shelters must be prepared, handled andstored in a sanitary manner to prevent the spread offood-borne illness, as per the Toronto Public HealthFood Premises Regulations.Donated food accepted by shelters must be safe, of goodquality and come from an inspected source. Food mustbe received in containers with tight-fitting lids or othersuitable method to protect it from contamination oradulteration. Food donations will only be used as asupplement to food available in a shelter, and not asa replacement for basic food supplies. 23
  • 26. Toronto Shelter Standards 8. Health and It is also recommended that all shelter staff with negative TB skin tests be re-tested by their own physician on an Safety Standards annual basis to ensure continued negative status. If positive, shelter staff will be reported to and followed 8.1 Health Standards by Public Health as per communicable disease At least one staff person certified in First Aid and legislation (see Appendix K). Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) must be on Within 10 days of the start of employment, all staff duty at all times in the shelter. will be provided with information/orientation on the In accordance with Regulation 1101 under the Workplace following topics: Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, an approved first aid prevention of transmission of infection within kit must be available in each shelter and a portable kit the shelter through use of routine practices and must be taken on outings (see Appendixes I and J). additional precautions (formerly known as uni- versal health precautions) such as hand-washing, Shelter staff can and should encourage a resident to personal hygiene, housekeeping practices, food seek medical treatment if it appears that the resident safety and use of personal protective equipment is ill. Staff can facilitate treatment by referring residents information on specific diseases such as TB, HIV, to community medical resources. Staff cannot require hepatitis B and C, and in the case of shelters residents to seek medical treatment against their will; with children, childhood diseases however, staff can involve health professionals who procedure for dealing with occupational exposure may be able to intervene. to blood or bloody body fluids Shelters must provide access to bathing (and where information on shelter response to individual possible, laundry) facilities to promote and assist with cases or outbreaks of infectious disease resident hygiene. Soap, shampoo, razors and feminine information on community health care resources hygiene products should be provided in emergency such as Toronto Public Health contact numbers. circumstances and/or to residents with no income. Educational updates on the above topics will be provided It is recommended that current shelter staff and future as often as necessary to reinforce safe work practices. candidates provided an offer of employment at a shelter, complete a health history which documents up-to-date Written policies and procedures will be developed in adult immunization status, including vaccination against consultation with Toronto Public Health for preventing, hepatitis B virus, history of chicken-pox and results handling and reporting communicable diseases. of two-step TB skin testing recorded in millimetres of Shelters must have a contract with a licensed pest induration (unless documented previously positive). control operator, and have a scheduled inspection and Documentation, if available, should remain on-site treatment plan. with the City of Toronto Occupational Health Unit for the duration of employment.24
  • 27. Toronto Shelter StandardsGarbage must be stored in impervious containers with Children may enter kitchen and laundry areas onlytight-fitting lids that discourage insect or rodent when accompanied by an adult.infestation. Garbage must be removed often enough Mattresses must be covered with a flame-retardantto prevent noxious odours or unsanitary conditions. and moisture-retardant material. Window coverings,Receptacles must be cleaned regularly. upholstered furniture and any carpeting must be com-Disposable diapers are recommended for use in shelters. posed of materials that are flame-resistant and retardant.Cloth diapers may be introduced if adequate laundry Cribs, highchairs and playpens for infants mustfacilities and control procedures are in place. conform to specifications approved by the CanadianDiaper change areas must be cleaned regularly and Standards Association (CSA) or other governmentlocated near a washbasin supplied with soap, agency. Cribs must be provided for all children underdisinfectant and paper towels. two years of age (see Appendix L). Shelters must have a maintenance plan that clearly8.2 Safety Standards specifies the manner in which cleaning, preventiveWhen the shelter is open, staff must be on duty. maintenance, emergency repairs, routine upkeep andWhen on duty, all staff must be alert and attentive long-term replacements are to be done.to the activities at the shelter. Sleeping when on dutyis prohibited. 8.3 Resident MedicationShelters must ensure that residents are safe and secure Shelters must have policies regarding residentwithin the facility. Entrances to the shelter must be medication and its storage. Policies should includesecured against unwanted entry. Emergency exits must the following:be equipped with an alarm to alert staff of unauthorized Storagecomings and goings. For the protection of all residents, medication must be kept in a secure location such as a cabinet in anAll shelters must designate an evacuation site. Evacuation office, or locker or drawer in a resident’s room, andplans, which all staff are familiar with, must be in place must be locked at all times.and explained to each resident upon admission or assoon after as possible. Diagrams of the evacuation Documentationplans must be posted in plain sight on the walls Shelters that document medication should maintainand/or doors of all sleeping and communal areas. a consistent method of documenting medication. Medication information should be recorded in aShelters must ensure that no environmental hazards such medication logbook detailing the date, name of theas chemicals and cleaning compounds are present. resident, the time the medication was taken and theHazardous materials and objects must be inaccessible staff person.to residents. People using the hazardous materialsmust be educated on the hazards associated with the Supportproducts used, and the safe handling, storage and Shelters may determine that they do not providedisposal protocol for the products. assistance with medication and residents are fully responsible for taking their own medication. 25
  • 28. Toronto Shelter Standards Shelters that do choose to provide some assistance with medication should always encourage residents to self- administer. Residents may be able to self-administer or may require some support from shelter staff, such as prompts, reminders, help to open containers, etc. Staff should consult with a nurse, psychiatrist, physician or pharmacist in any situations where they are concerned about the safety of a resident taking medication. 8.4 Weapons To ensure the safety and security of all residents and staff, prohibited weapons, illegal substances and/or contraband (for example a firearm, illegal drugs, etc.) are not allowed in the shelter or on the shelter property. Prohibited weapons as defined by the Criminal Code section 84 (1) are illegal and can be seized by police. Prohibited weapons, illegal substances and/or contra- band will be confiscated and may be turned over to the Toronto Police Service for disposal (see Appendix M). Objects deemed potentially dangerous to residents or staff (for example, a penknife) must be turned over to staff for safekeeping and will be returned upon discharge. Staff may ask residents to show what they are bringing into the shelter. Staff may refuse admission if residents or applicants will not show what they are bringing into the shelter. If staff have reason to suspect that a resident has a prohibited weapon, illegal substances, contraband, and/ or potentially dangerous object(s) in their possession, staff may contact the Toronto Police Service for assistance and/or advice. The securing and/or disposal of prohibited weapons, illegal substances and/or contraband should be done in consultation with the Toronto Police Service by calling the radio room at 416-808-2222.26
  • 29. Toronto Shelter Standards9. Staff Training Mandatory Training for Staff Working with Children in Family Shelters or Children’sFull-time and part-time staff members must receive Programmingtraining in the areas described below. Documentation Information and Orientation outlined in Healthmust be maintained on-site regarding employees’ Standards (see section 8.1), within 10 days oftraining. The Toronto Hostel Training Centre will assess employmentcomparable training, and staff may be exempted from Shelter Standards, within the first three monthsparticular courses. Shelter operators are encouraged of employmentto hire part-time, casual and relief staff who havecompleted some of the mandatory training courses. Crisis Prevention and/or Verbal De-escalationTimelines for training part-time, casual and relief staff training within the first six months of employmentmay be extended in consultation with Hostel Services. Child Safety, Injury Prevention, First Aid and CPR Program, within the first year of employmentMandatory Training for Shelter Staff (see Safety Standards for minimum requirements Information and Orientation, outlined in Health regarding staff on duty certified in First Aid Standards (see section 8.1), within 10 days of and CPR) employment Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Shelter Standards, within the first three months System, within the first year of employment of employment Anti-racism/Anti-oppression, within the first Crisis Prevention, and/or Verbal De-escalation year of employment training within the first six months of employment Duty to Report, within the first three months Valid Standard First Aid and CPR, within the first of employment year of employment (see Safety Standards for Behaviour Management, within the first six minimum requirements regarding staff on duty months of employment. certified in First Aid and CPR) Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), within the first year of employment Anti-racism/Anti-oppression, within the first year of employment Case Management, within the first three months of employment for staff providing counselling or case management supports. 27
  • 30. Toronto Shelter Standards Mandatory Training for Staff Supervising or Recommended Training for Staff Directly Involved with Food Preparation Working in the Family Shelter System Information and Orientation as outlined in the Working with Families in Shelters Health Standards (see section 8.1), within 10 Working with Abused Women and Children days of employment Nutrition through the Life Cycle Information and Orientation as outlined in the Food Safety and Nutrition Standards (see Documentation section 7), within 10 days of employment Self Care. Food Handlers Certification Course, within the Recommended Training for first three months of employment (see Food Supervisory and/or Management Staff Safety and Nutrition Standards for minimum Managing in a Unionized Environment standards regarding staff certified in the Food (if applicable) Handlers Program) Crisis Prevention, and/or Verbal De-escalation Nutrition through the Life Cycle and Nutrition training for Persons with Diverse Dietary Needs, within the first six months of employment. Case Management for Supervisors. Mandatory Training for Supervisory and/or Management Staff Shelter Standards, within the first three months of employment Supervisory Skills, within the first six months of employment Anti-racism/Anti-oppression, within the first year of employment. Recommended Training for Staff Working in the Single Adult and Youth Shelter System Substance Use Harm Reduction including avoiding needle stick injuries, responding to overdose and what to expect from different drugs Mental Health Meeting the Needs of Transgendered/ Transsexual/Two-spirited Residents Nutrition through the Life Cycle Documentation Self Care.28
  • 31. Toronto Shelter Standards10. Glossary of Terms Capital Reserve Fund: This is a fund internal to the budget of an organization, which is contributed toThis glossary of terms is intended to support the shelter on a regular basis and is intended for future repairsstandards and provide a greater understanding of and replacement of major building elements such assome key expressions as understood by the City. roofs or furnaces. These repairs and replacements areThe definitions in the glossary reflect the meanings expected to be undertaken at the end of the useful lifeof terms as they are used in the implementation and of various building elements.operation of the shelter standards. For further clarifi-cation of these or other terms used in relation to the Case Plan: This is a unique, individualized documentshelter standards, please contact your shelter’s for each shelter resident, intended to chart a course ofAgency Review Officer. action necessary to help the individual achieve a set of goals in a particular timeframe and eventually have theirAdmission: This is the formal process of giving a life circumstances and/or housing situation stabilized.person access to a shelter and its services. Complaint and Appeal Process: This is a mecha-Abstinence-Based Facilities: These are emergency nism used at each shelter to address and work towardor transitional shelters in which residents choose resolving resident and staff concerns. Complaints thatvoluntarily not to use or be exposed to other persons cannot be resolved after using the complaints andwho use alcohol or drugs. Abstinence-based facilities appeals process at the shelter may be directed tomust identify how abstinence is defined within their Hostel Services, Head Office for further resolution.program and have City approval to operate as anabstinence-based facility. Conflict of Interest: This is a situation in which an individual uses or is perceived to use information,Barring: see Service Restrictions. influence and/or resources of an organization primarilyBed: A bed refers to a piece of furniture with a mattress for personal benefit, benefit to their family, or tointended for sleeping. Note: cots and mats are used in protect against personal loss or that of related organi-extreme weather emergencies and receive prior approval zations to which they belong, without prior disclosurefrom Hostel Services for their usage. or affiliation.Bed Capacity: This is the maximum number of Contract Restriction: This is a brief suspension ofbeds in a shelter facility as indicated in the purchase- a resident’s access to daytime or program activities,of-service agreement. but which does not result in the loss of their bed.Bed Registration: This is the process of reserving a Discharge: This is the process of concluding anbed for an incoming or registered shelter resident. individual’s stay at a particular shelter. 29
  • 32. Toronto Shelter Standards Emergency Shelters: These are facilities operated Harm Reduction: Harm reduction is an approach directly by the City of Toronto or under purchase-of- to substance use that was developed as an alternative service agreements with the City of Toronto, which to the exclusionary and medical approaches. The provide accommodation, three daily meals and basic exclusionary approach views substance use as criminal referral services to homeless persons. Some emergency or immoral, while the medical approach views it as shelters provide supportive counselling and/or an illness or a disease. Harm reduction takes a value- additional programming. neutral view of substance use, seeing it as a spectrum of behaviours that range from experimentation to Extreme Cold Weather Alerts: Hostel Services problematic expression. The focus of the harm monitors Environment Canada weather forecasts from reduction approach is on the problem of harm arising November 15 to April 15. An Extreme Cold Weather from the particular behaviour, rather than on the Alert is called at the discretion of Hostel Services, and behaviour itself. The harm-reduction approach go into effect when Environment Canada predicts a accepts that clients may continue to use substances temperature of –15 degrees Celsius or lower without while in a shelter program or living in the community. wind chill; issues a wind-chill warning for outdoor activity; or predicts other extreme weather conditions Heat Alerts/Heat Emergencies: These are part such as a blizzard or ice storm. During an Extreme of a heat-health alert system that is activated at the Cold Weather Alert, some shelters may be authorized discretion of Toronto Public Health. Toronto Public by Hostel Services to exceed their contracted capacity, Health monitors weather from May 15 until and all shelters should relax service restrictions, September 30 of each year looking at a wide range of admission criteria and extend daytime access hours air mass and climate conditions. When either a Heat wherever possible to minimize risk to homeless Alert or a Heat Emergency is called, the likelihood of persons. First implemented in the winter of 1996/97, deaths may increase due to hot weather. In the event the Extreme Cold Weather Alert strategy arose from a of a Heat Emergency, the likelihood of even more June 1996 report of the Homeless Emergency Action weather-related deaths may occur because the heat Task Force. has become more severe or is expected to last longer. During Heat Alerts/Heat Emergencies, all shelters Final Bed Count: This is the process of counting should relax service restrictions, admission criteria individuals in occupied beds. The count takes place and extend daytime access hours wherever possible to between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., or minimize risk factors to homeless persons. through another tracking system developed by the shelter provider if a physical count is not possible Homeless person: An individual without a perma- during these hours. Final bed counts are recorded on nent place of residence. a form provided by the City of Toronto, and must be consistent with bed occupancy information submitted for payment.30
  • 33. Toronto Shelter StandardsLeaves with Permission: This refers to pre-approved Resident Bed Logs: Logs are written documentationconsent by authorized shelter staff for a shelter resident of shelter occupants completed on a daily basis, whichto spend a night away from the shelter. The City of include the resident’s name, date of birth, assignedToronto will provide a per diem payment for absent room and bed number, time in if after curfew,residents only when the leave is based on their case overnight or late pass and discharge information.plan or for an emergency situation. Leaves that Service Restrictions (Barring): This refers to theexceed three nights away from the shelter require withholding of shelter services to a resident for a lim-approval of the Agency Review Officer. ited duration due to a particular incident or behaviour.Occupied Bed: This is a bed that is physically Alternative arrangements must be made for shelteroccupied by a resident when the final bed count is provision at another facility. All service restrictionstaken. This will include residents who are temporarily must be authorized by the Executive Director of theout of their beds, but present elsewhere in the shelter shelter (or his/her designate).during the time of the count, and residents on a Site Review: This is a visit to the shelter by staffdocumented and approved overnight pass/leave with of Hostel Services, wherein the staff may conduct apermission that is based on their case plan or due to review of services. Hostel Services staff are to bean unforeseen emergency. provided with reasonable access to the premises andOperational Review: This is an intensive review to financial and service records.of a shelter provider’s operation as a means to determine Specialized Programs: These are particularif it meets contractual obligations (including compliance responses or activities that meet the unique andwith shelter standards), and that it fulfills the condi- specific needs of particular shelter clients.tions of its by laws or incorporating documents. Time Outs: These refer to short-term serviceOvernight Pass: This is a pre-approved consent by restrictions of less than 24 hours with temporaryauthorized shelter staff for a shelter occupant to spend accommodation secured at another shelter locationone night away from the shelter, while ensuring a bed or other homeless program.is available upon their return. Transgendered: There is much debate over thePassing: This refers to the act of convincing people meaning of this word, but generally, it refers to some-that you are not transsexual, for safety or other reasons. one whose gender identity does not match what societyIn other words, if a person passes, no one can tell that expects of their appearance. Unlike transsexuals, ahe or she is transsexual. Passing is difficult and transgendered person may not feel the need toexpensive, as it often requires costly surgeries and physically change their body (undergo a sex-changemedical procedures. Passing is not possible for many operation).transsexual people. 31
  • 34. Toronto Shelter Standards Transitional Shelters: These are facilities operated by the City of Toronto or under purchase-of-service agreements with the City of Toronto, that provide longer-term stable accommodation to homeless persons who are working toward reintegration in supportive, social or private housing. Persons staying in transitional shelters may have more complex needs and require more intensive and specialized programming. Transitioning: This is the period during which transsexual people begin changing their name, appearance and bodies to match their gender identity. While in transition, transsexual people are conspicuous and, therefore, vulnerable to discrimination, violence and hate crimes. However, many transsexuals are determined to face these barriers rather than the internal conflict of living in the “wrong” body. Transsexual: This is someone who wishes to change their physical sex to be more in line with their gender identity. Although difficult, this transition is necessary for many and should not be denied. Transsexual Man: This is a person whose sex at birth was female but who identifies himself as a man. Regardless of what stage he is at in his transition, or how he appears, if he is identifying as male, this person is to be considered male and referred to as “he.” Transsexual Woman: This is a person whose sex at birth was male, but who identifies herself as a woman. Regardless of what point she is at in her transition, or how she appears, if she is identifying as a female, this person is to be considered female, and referred to as “she.” Two-spirited People: Lesbian or gay persons of aboriginal ancestry.32
  • 35. Toronto Shelter Standards11. AppendixesAppendix A — Total Number of Requests for Service FormAppendix B — Bed Occupancy FormAppendix C — Service Restriction FormAppendix D — Space Standards – examples of floor plansAppendix E — Child and Family Services Act – excerptAppendix F — Canada’s Food GuideAppendix G — Food Premises RegulationsAppendix H — Food Safety Guidelines for Emergency SheltersAppendix I — Regulation 1101 under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 regarding First Aid RequirementsAppendix J — First Aid Supplies – Toronto Public HealthAppendix K — Tuberculosis Control Program, Mandatory Health Programs and Services GuidelinesAppendix L — Canadian Safety Standards Association – CribsAppendix M — Criminal Code section 84 (1) regarding Prohibited Weapons If you would like copies of any of these appendixes, please call Toronto Hostel Services at 416-392-8741 33