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Shelter, Support & Housing Administration December 15, 2004

Hostel Services Guideline Assessment & Referral Centre 2004 - 11

Number: Date Issued: Last City Guideline Received: Subject: Effective Date: Applicable to: Who To Call for Information:

2004-11 December 15, 2004 2004-10 Subsidy Submission (Pinks) drop-off to Hostel Services Assessment & Referral Centre Access to Single Adult and Youth Shelters December 16, 2004 The policies and procedures in this City Guideline are mandatory and are to be implemented by all single adult and youth shelter providers. Agency Review Officer

Background:
Each night during the winter months, there are 3,318 beds available in the permanent single adult and youth shelter systems and there are an average of 110 beds in the Out of the Cold system. Shelters work in collaboration with Street Helpline, drop-ins, street outreach providers, and other referral sources to provide shelter and supports for homeless people. In support of these programs and as part of the 2004/2005 Winter Plan, the City of Toronto will operate an after hours Assessment and Referral Centre. The purpose of the Assessment & Referral Centre is to assist homeless people who are living on the street and do not traditionally stay in the permanent shelter system to access unoccupied beds in the permanent shelter system and/or the temporary winter shelter that will be opening at 110 Edward Street. The Centre will also provide supports to help clients of the Centre to secure permanent housing.

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It is important to understand that the Centre is not a centralized access system. People who have a bed in the shelter system will be sent back to that facility. This program is intended to assist homeless people after hours to leave the streets and access a shelter bed and/or receive supports to access permanent housing. Placement Process The staff of the Assessment and Referral Centre will complete an intake on all new clients coming into the program and will place people according to the following placement process: 1. Priority placement will be made into appropriate vacant shelter beds in the permanent shelter system. 2. If it is determined that there are no appropriate beds in the permanent system, then clients will be referred to the temporary winter shelter. 3. If it is determined there are no appropriate beds available in the permanent, or temporary facilities then Hostel Services will add on the additional beds that would be available for Cold Alerts. 4. If it is determined there are no appropriate beds available in the permanent, or temporary facilities, and the Cold Alerts beds are full, then agencies may be given permission by Hostel Services to exceed capacity (based upon prior approval). This will be assessed on a night-by-night and case-by-case basis. This guideline supports the Toronto Shelter Standards Section 4. Access to Shelter Sections: 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Admission and Discharge Bed Registration for Incoming and Registered Residents Occupied Beds Overnight Passes and Leaves with Permission Substance Use Service Restrictions Meeting the Needs of Transgendered/Transsexual/Two-spirited

Referral Process All single adult and youth facilities are expected to support and facilitate the access of homeless people into the shelter system and adhere to the following: 1. The Assessment & Referral Centre will be completing referrals based on Toronto Shelter Standards section 4. Access to Shelter, and within the terms of the agencys Hostel Services Operating Agreement. 2. The Assessment & Referral Centre will operate daily between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., seven days a week from mid-December to the end of May 2005. The Centre will be accessible after hours for homeless people who do not have a place to
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stay. Homeless people will be encouraged to continue to access shelters as they normally do. The Assessment & Referral Centre does not replace any existing access agreements, the work of Street Helpline, Drop-ins, or Street Outreach providers in the access process. 3. Shelters should continue to fill beds as per existing procedures, provided they comply with the Toronto Shelter Standards and the terms and conditions of the Operating Agreement with Hostel Services. All shelters are expected to arrange intakes, transfers, and/or service restrictions as per usual business practices - do not send clients directly to the referral centre to coordinate access unless in an emergency situation. Shelter staff are required to phone ahead to the Assessment & Referral Centre if they feel they need to make a referral. 4. After hours, staff at the Centre will complete an intake and assessment with each client and work with the shelters to make an appropriate referral to a vacant shelter bed. If a client is on a service restriction, staff will work with the shelters to find another vacant bed in the system and/or work with the shelter(s) to ease the service restriction or place the client into the temporary shelter. 5. Referral staff will then work with the shelter to arrange for transportation and admission. Once the client has arrived at the shelter, the shelter staff will be responsible to complete the admission as per the shelters internal admission policies/procedures. If for some reason the referral can not be accommodated (i.e. the individual gave a false name and are currently on a service restriction), then shelter staff should immediately contact the staff at the Assessment & Referral Centre. Centre staff will help place the client in another facility during their hours of operation. 6. In order to help Centre staff assist homeless people to secure beds in the shelter system, a nightly occupancy count must be provided to the Assessment & Referral Centre by all single adult and youth shelters - no later than 30 minutes after the agencys curfew. 7. At curfew, the shelter staff will determine how many beds are occupied in accordance with the Toronto Shelter Standard definition 4.3. Shelter staff will document the number of beds occupied, number of occupied beds held on an overnight pass, number of beds on approved Leave with Permission, total capacity of shelter and the total number of vacant beds. 8. Each night, shelter staff will forward this information to the Assessment & Referral Centre no later than 30 minutes after curfew. Hostel Services recognizes that curfews vary and many shelters extend curfews on the weekend. Vacancy information can be received by email, fax 416-338-4760, or phone 416-338-4766. It is expected that shelter staff who have access to email will send in the information by email. The email address will be available shortly. 9. The Shift Leader at the Shelter Referral Centre will collect and analyse information for use by the Assessment & Referral staff when referring individuals to shelters. Statistical
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information will also be collected and provided to the Program Supervisor and Agency Review Officers from Hostel Services. 10. If there is a disagreement about a referral or access issue, the Shift Leader will pass this information on to the Program Supervisor who will follow-up directly with the agency. If the access issue is a system or policy issue and/or can not be resolved at that level, the Program Supervisor will forward the issue to the Agency Review Officer for resolution. If shelter staff have an issue or concern about a referral, please contact the Program Supervisor to resolve the issue or contact your Agency Review Officer. All access issues should be resolved within three days. Authority to Exceed Capacity Only in Extreme/Emergency Circumstances 1. As part of the Winter Plan, shelters may be given authority by Hostel Services to exceed their bed capacity as per the Shelter Standards Section 4.1 and Section 2.1 (e) of the Operating Agreement. The permission to exceed bed capacity is for a limited period of time and should only be used in extraordinary circumstances. The additional beds must meet the space standards. 2. For the duration of the Referral Centre operations, the Referral Centre Supervisor and/or Shift Leader have been given the authority in advance to increase bed capacity after hours under certain extreme/emergency situations. Each case is assessed on an individual and time-limited basis up to a maximum of one day at a time, (unless a Cold Weather Alert is in effect and expected to last more than one day) and is subject to the following considerations: The following conditions must be met in order to authorize additional beds: a. Beds in the permanent system are at full capacity in the clients demographic sector *; b. Beds are at full capacity at the temporary winter shelter; c. No Cold Weather Alert beds are available (on nights when an alert is in effect); and d. Any additional bed(s) must meet the Toronto Shelter Standards on space**.
*This includes all beds temporarily vacant due to an authorized Leave with Permission (LWP). Shelters will be expected to fill these vacancies on a temporary basis. **Within the first month of operation, Referral Centre staff will work with Hostel Services to identify which shelters have space and could exceed their approved capacity. Please feel free to contact your ARO if you think your shelter may have additional space for consideration.

3. In the cases where the bed capacity has been temporarily increased, the following evening (8pm-8am) Assessment & Referral staff will be expected to assist shelters to locate another bed in the system, if the shelter staff are not able to do so during the day. If there are no other beds available, the authorization to exceed capacity may be extended at the discretion of the Referral Centre (according to appropriate approvals).

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4. The Assessment & Referral Centre will provide shelters with a written communication that formally gives the agency permission to exceed the approved capacity for the specific referred client(s). This communication must be submitted with the monthly submission of subsidy invoices (PINKS). Agencies must attach a copy of the written communication from Referral Centre to the specific PINK form.

Action Required:
1. 2. 3. Immediately inform all intake staff of the new operating requirements. Inform all staff responsible for the completion of Pinks and the monthly billing/invoicing processes of the new requirements. Inform and update current residents about the role of the Assessment and Referral Centre and the eligibility for service requirements for service at the temporary shelter.

As required Hostel Services will communicate further with providers to clarify these new operating procedures. If you have any questions about Guideline 2004-#11, please call your Agency Review Officer immediately. For other matters related to access to shelters, please refer to Guidelines: 2004-07 Winter Access 2004-08 Leaves with Permission If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact your Agency Review Officer.

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