Emergency Shelters

Service Area

Emergency Shelters

What is this Service?

The services provided through emergency hostels/shelters can be viewed as a key point of access to a broad range of social services (by some municipalities). However, emergency hostels are not intended to serve as permanent housing.

The provision of emergency hostel services by a municipality is not mandatory. Municipalities may choose to offer emergency shelter services directly or through third-party contracts with community-based agencies.

Specific objectives include:

  • Ensure that individuals and families experiencing homelessness have access to temporary emergency shelter services that will help them stabilize their situations and move into appropriate accommodation in the community
  • Provide safe and secure basic accommodations and meals for individuals and/or families experiencing homelessness

Influencing Factors:

Immigration:  Federal immigration policies and processing times for Refugee claims.

Information Systems:  Database systems used could impact reporting capabilities.

Other Housing Services:   Availability of transitional and/or supported living housing in the community and supplementary support services.

Political Climate:  Current and former local and provincial policies and support for homelessness impact service level provided, i.e. Is the climate conducive to support, fund and build/procure spaces?

Supply vs. Demand:  Individuals in need may decide not to take up offers of shelter.

Vacancy Rates in Rental Markets:  Housing availability and affordability.

Weather Conditions:  Number of beds can vary by season.  Natural disasters and weather related events increase occupancy and length of stay.