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Novotel on The Esplanade to become an emergency homeless shelter for 2021

Last Updated Feb 5, 2021 at 5:30 pm EDT

Exterior shot of Novotel on The Esplanade in Toronto, Ontario. Accor

A well-known hotel on the Esplanade in Toronto will be used as a temporary shelter for the homeless as more and more people try to navigate the difficult circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City announced Friday it will be leasing the Novotel hotel at 45 the Esplanade which will begin operating later this month and will be rented until the end of 2021.

City councillor Joe Cressy says there will be wrap-around support for its clients, including mental and physical health supports.

“Resources have been allocated to ensure that there is 24-hour staffing and security on-site, as well as two 24/7 neighbourhood Community Safety Teams to circulate in the neighbourhood to address issues,” said Cressy.

“At the hotel, additional measures will be in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, including a standard public health screening process at all points of entry.”

Last week, Toronto reported 10 COVID-19 outbreaks at homeless shelters that forced 66 unhoused people infected with the novel coronavirus.

He says specialized staff will work with residents to help come up with permanent housing.

“The City has also established dedicated recovery facilities in other hotels with appropriate medical supports for people experiencing homelessness who test positive, but who do not require hospitalization, where clients can stay until their isolation period has passed,” the councillor continued.

“We have a collective responsibility to do all we can to protect our community members who are vulnerable, including people experiencing homelessness. That includes emergency shelter responses, as well as investing in permanent solutions like supportive and affordable housing.”

Throughout the pandemic, Toronto has opened more than 20 additional shelter sites.

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