Toronto hostels and shelters are organized into four sectors, based on the clients they serve. Therefore, their resources, priorities, and planning are distinct. 

Men’s/Co-Ed Sector

Representing the largest group of shelters (and TSN members), this sector includes all men’s and co-ed shelter agencies in Toronto. Shelters offer emergency and transitional shelter to homeless men and women, many of which are an aging population, whereby long-term care is a significant need. Assistance in finding permanent housing, and mental health, behavioural and/or addictions support are among some of the services offered. 

Women’s Sector

The women’s sector represents agencies that operate exclusively women’s shelters in Toronto. Similar to the men’s/co-ed sector, these shelters vary in the type of services they offer, from emergency to transitional shelter for women. Supports for women also include supportive housing, addictions services, and others.

Youth Sector

The agencies that represent youth shelters in Toronto are devoted to helping homeless youth (ages anywhere between 10-24) get off the streets. In addition to immediate basic shelter, food, and safety, shelters also offer a wide range of services from educational support and skills training to drug abuse treatment/prevention.  The Youth Sector is also represented by the Youth Shelter Interagency Network (YSIN); this network was established in 1994 to represent the interests of Toronto’s shelter operators for homeless youth. 

Family Sector

This group of member agencies represents all the shelters in Toronto that deliver shelter services for families seeking refuge, safety, as well as offering a range of other services including transitional housing programs. A significant proportion of these families are refugees fleeing war and poverty abroad, and thus represent a unique subset of needs of shelter users. 

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