Men’s Sector Table Meeting

July 19, 2016


Meeting called to order at 1:15pm by chair Brother Tom Liss

Attendees: Shannon Butler (Homes First Society, Strachan House), Brother Tim Liss, (Good Shepherd), Meeley Chan (City of Toronto), Kevin Doue (St. Simon’s Shelter), Evelyn Mitchell (Maxwell Meighen Centre), Harvey Stein (Schoolhouse Shelter), Tarik Bacchus (Fort York), Miranda Saroli (TSN)

1. Review the agenda

Added to the agenda – Interim funding budget

·       Budgets for each shelter listed online (

·       Numbers are not adding up for some (funding vs. expenses, e.g. Sojourn is ahead with funding, Salvation Army is under a couple hundred thousand); shelters vary in their per diem costs so difficult to compare interim funding among shelters;

·       Meeley: each shelter will get a letter explaining their funding allocation and describing the opportunity to appeal (based on any possible miscalculation on behalf of the City in their audit process only; i.e. cannot appeal based on program changes)

·       Meeley – funding is based on the October to December interim funding model, based on 2015 billings (e.g. what Good Shepherd billed the city in 2015), and will be quarterly payments.

·       Discussion around how basing funding off only one year of billing (2015) doesn’t capture certain costs (e.g. replacing all beds one year); maybe looking at more than one year would be more realistic of actual costs.

·       Meeley – as we move forward, there will be opportunities to look at the model more, but for now, this is how it is.

·       Agenda has been approved.


2. Review and Finalize terms of reference

·       Comment on (1) attendance – if anyone has any guest speaker in mind for meetings, please bring them (need to boost morale/interest);

·       Tarik suggested creating a ‘goals and objectives’ statement as number 3 in the ToR; this will help with the above (Shannon will draft some ideas and send out to group)

·       Terms of reference, as they stand now, approved.


3.  Discuss top priorities for the men’s sector to begin a work plan

·       More complex clients of the aging population

o    Strachan House has become a long-term care facility, so there is a clear need here for clients who aren’t eligible for long-term care;

o   Discussion on various positive and negative experiences with Sherbourne Health Centre (e.g. ‘very helpful in providing at least short-term care’ vs. cases were ‘client didn’t meet their criteria’)

o   Mention of recent test cases (serious but not acute cases) where the city pushed back against hospitals discharging clients when shelters aren’t capable of taking care of them; clients were put into long-term care at least for a short while; contact ARO with cases like these to get City support.

o   Kevin – historically, the population at St. Simon’s is older, but recently there has been an influx of under 25 yo’s. Possibly linked to Seaton House situation.

o   Brother Tom – discussed infrastructure limitations to their aging populations (only have use of freight elevator when clients can’t use stairs) – present safety and liability issues.

o   Mention of George St. revitalization project– long-term care home                 


·       Compliance with shelter standards

o   Discussion around how, in the short-term, these aren’t realistic; the expectations of compliance is a good goal, but will require vast funds to actually carry them out; no shelter will meet ALL standards (e.g. training sessions); however, there is the understanding on behalf of the City that this will take time, and certain standards are up to interpretation.


·       Advocacy – be the voice to fight for change for homeless is a big piece; Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness a resource


·       Miranda described common supports as listed by all sectors; role of TSN

o   Website should include resources to share among sectors (e.g. interpretation services for first generation Canadians, there is an iPhone app for this!); discussion boards to post on would be useful; eventually organize content into relevant categories.


·       Education

o   Discussion on how we need ways to inform the community on the importance of shelters to reduce stigma, minimize complaints from community members (i.e. gentrification in Liberty Village)

o   Maybe have a client come tell their story at community meetings;

o   Shannon has found it has been effective to get on their side when they take the time to give people a tour of Strachan, etc.

o   Need resources for donors/community members/etc. to learn more, give them the opportunity to find out what shelters are doing. E.g. Community picnic

·       Meetings themselves need to be more regular, now bi-monthly; Host shelter can do a tour at the beginning of every meeting to “promote familiarity and relationships with other shelters to understand issues, standards, and procedures”– see 3iii (Terms of Reference)


·       Long-term, resistant clients

o   I.e. those refusing to leave shelters despite being offered housing plan or service plan; they learn how to navigate the system so shelters are housing the same individuals for years, despite their capacity to move out;

o   Need to explore creative options (e.g. move client from 2-bed room to 8- or 10-bed room to encourage them to leave); trading resistant clients among shelters is also an option;

o   We need to look at the housing models that we’re providing and identify the potential root causes of resistance to leaving – e.g. they don’t want to die alone in a one-bedroom apt; they get used to a sense of a community;

o   Need more transitional housing (e.g. Strachan House) and more appropriate housing (e.g. for geriatric clients); move the responsibility for these groups to the appropriate bodies (e.g. clients with developmental disabilities)


·       TOP 3:

o   Access to appropriate housing (e.g. aging population in long-term care)

o   Providing coordinated service to the men’s sector (for those complex clients who need combined support from more than one shelter/service)

o   Advocacy – education within the sector, outside the sector (hospitals, community, donors) about how the sector works, its value/importance; this would involve creating a dialogue with other agencies (e.g. CAMH)


4. Discuss any concerns around the new shelter standards, now that they have been implemented for a little while

·       See above (re: interim funding)

·       City Bulletin – will give opportunity for feedback and questions around the standards (Meeley to provide link/resource); City will also be doing site visits

·       Which parts of the standards are particularly challenging:

o   Service Restrictions, e.g. 90 day barring of clients, what happens after?

o   All training

o   Long-term, resistant clients

5. What things should be discussed to share sector wide with other sectors women/youth/family

·       Discussion on limited housing options for men based on need; more people are dealing with male homelessness so can Men be a leader in the sector?

·       Men are vulnerable too – other sectors need to realize this. Especially re: aging population. This presents challenges for funding; “we’re not cute”

6. What do we want from these meetings?  Next meetings items (tour of a facility, CAMH to discuss building better relationships)

·       Meeting with City on outbreak at Seaton House on July 21st at 9:30am at St. Simon’s Shelter

·       Next Men’s sector table meeting will be held on September 20, 1-4pm, Maxwell Meighen Centre (York Residence as back up)

·       Items on the agenda will include:

o   Tour of the facility

o   CAMH communications rep. to come talk about relationship between CAMH and shelters

o   Finalize goals and objectives statement for ToR

7. Meeting adjourned at 3:15pm; Kevin took everyone on tour of St. Simon’s facility