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Toronto to open a second COVID-19 recovery site for homeless

The City of Toronto is set to open a second recovery site for those people experiencing homelessness and dealing with COVID-19.

The City says the downtown site will open Friday and has a capacity to handle up to 250 individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus and need a place to isolate and recover.

The new site is in addition to an existing 200-bed COVID-19 recovery site for homeless individuals that opened back in April.

“This recovery site is not a hospital, nor is it a shelter. Rather, it is a new housing and healthcare initiative to support Toronto’s homeless population,” said councillor Joe Cressy.

Individuals will be referred directly to the recovery program through a referral from an Inner City Health Associates physician. Transportation to the site will be provided by the City’s fleet services. The site is pet-friendly and family-friendly.

Once the individual has recovered, clients will be provided with the option of going to one of the hotel-based shelter programs or directly to housing wherever possible.

“People experiencing homelessness face a disproportionately high risk of harm during this pandemic. This second recovery site will help mitigate that harm and save lives; it is a key part of ensuring that people experiencing homelessness receive the help and healthcare they so desperately need,” said Dr. Andrew Bond, Medical Director of Inner City Health Associates.

The City says it has also implementing enhanced PPE measures across the shelter system. Officials say starting this week, additional supplies of PPE will be distributed to all frontline shelter staff in all City operated sites.

The City adds that while current public health guidelines don’t require the universal use of PPE in shelter locations where there is not an active outbreak, the new measure provides a consistent approach to protect both staff and vulnerable clients across the shelter system.