Toronto Shelter System Flow

The City of Toronto funds and operates services dedicated to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. The overnight services, including emergency shelters, respites, and other allied services (including hotel/motel programs and warming centres), use the Shelter Management Information System (SMIS) to intake people who are accessing these services into their programs.

The Shelter System Flow data shares information about people experiencing homelessness who are entering and leaving the shelter system each month, including the number of unique people who have used the shelter system at least one time in the past three months and are considered to be actively experiencing homelessness (ie; they were not discharged to permanent housing).

This information provides insight into who is experiencing homelessness and how the City's system is functioning. It will also help measure progress towards the vision of reducing homelessness in Toronto to rare, brief, and non-recurring instances.

Over time, the data will be expanded to capture more people, such as people sleeping outdoors and people using overnight homelessness services that are not funded by the City of Toronto to provide more comprehensive picture of all people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Based on the most recent Street Needs Assessment, we anticipate that approximately 18 per cent of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto are not currently reflected in this data.

Limitations The data reflects only people who have used an overnight service and does not include people exclusively sleeping outdoors or using other homelessness services.

Shelter sites that do not use SMIS and that are funded by other levels of government are also not included in the dataset.

The Open Data set will be published monthly, on the 15th day of the month (or the next business day). When a new data set is generated, it will include an updated data set for the previous month. The reason behind this is the discharge field in SMIS remain active for two weeks to enhance the accuracy of the final discharge disposition for each client. The previous month data will be replace when the new data extraction is complete.


• All populations: Refers to total number of individuals represented in the report without any demographic breakdown.

• Chronic (refers to chronic homelessness): People who meet one of the two following criteria, as per the federal definition of chronic homelessness. The person has recorded a minimum of 180 overnight stay in the past year (365 days); or the person has recurrent overnight stays over the past three years with a cumulative duration of at least 546 nights.

• Families: Individuals who are recorded as staying in a family designated overnight service.

• Youth: Refers to unaccompanied youth and includes people who are between 16 and 24 years old by the last date of the reporting month and are not members of a family as defined above.

• Single Adult: Refers to individuals who are neither classified as youth nor are members of a family.

• Refugees: People who either identify as refugees upon intake to a shelter system or whose intake is completed into a program designated for refugees. Applies to all household members as answered by the household head.

• Non-Refugees: People who are not categorized as refugee per the definition above.

• Indigenous: An individual is classified as Indigenous if the person has self-identified as First Nations (status, non-status, treaty, non-treaty), Metis or Inuit in at least one of the intake(s) completed in SMIS (Shelter Management Information System).

Note: An updated Indigenous identity question became mandatory in Oct 2020. After a short adoption period, the data stabilized in January 2021, therefore only data from this time is included in this dashboard. Because the updated question is only asked on intake, we do anticipate the percentage of people who identify as Indigenous to continue to increase as people flow through the shelter system

Datasets available for download

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated February 12, 2024, 17:09 (UTC)
Created November 1, 2023, 03:31 (UTC)
Domain / Topic
Domain or topic of the dataset being cataloged.
Affordable Housing
Published Date
Published date of the dataset.
Time Span (start date)
Start date of the data in the dataset.
Time Span (end date)
End date of time data in the dataset.
GeoSpatial Area Span
A spatial region or named place the dataset covers.
Field Value
Unique identifier for the dataset.
Access category
Type of access granted for the dataset (open, closed, etc).
Location of the dataset.
Data Service
Data service for accessing a dataset.
Owner of the dataset.
City of Toronto
Contact Point
Who to contact regarding access.
Publisher of the dataset.
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
Publisher Email
Email of the publisher
Author of the dataset.
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
Author Email
Email of the author
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
Accessed At
Date the data and metadata was accessed.
Field Value
Link to dataset description
A URL to an external document describing the dataset.
Language(s) of the dataset
Persistent Identifier
Data is identified by a persistent identifier.
Globally Unique Identifier
Data is identified by a persistent and globally unique identifier.
Format (CSV, XLS, TXT, PDF, etc)
Format of the dataset.
Source of the dataset.
Version of the datatset
Version notes
Version notes about the dataset.
Is version of another dataset
Link to dataset that it is a version of.
Other versions
Link to datasets that are versions of it.
Provenance Text
Provenance Text of the data.
Provenance URL
Provenance URL of the data.
Temporal resolution
Describes how granular the date/time data in the dataset is.
GeoSpatial resolution in meters
Describes how granular (in meters) geospatial data is in the dataset.
GeoSpatial resolution (in regions)
Describes how granular (in regions) geospatial data is in the dataset.
Field Value
Contains Individual Data
Does the data hold individualized data?
Contains Identifiable Data
Does the data hold identifiable individual data?
Contains Indigenous Data
Does the data hold data about Indigenous communities?
Limits on use
Limits on use of data.
This dataset is released under City of Toronto's Open Government Licence. For specific details, check:
Indigenous Community Permission
Who holds the Indigenous Community Permission. Who to contact regarding access to a dataset that has data about Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous communities the dataset is about
Indigenous communities from which data is derived.
Field Value
Data complies with a community standard (RDA-R1.3-01D)
This indicator requires that data complies with community standards. (FAIR ID = RDA-R1.3-01D).
Data uses knowledge representation expressed in standardised format (RDA-I1-01D)
The indicator serves to determine that an appropriate standard is used to express knowledge, in particular the data model and format (FAIR ID = RDA-I1-01D).
Data uses machine-understandable knowledge representation (RDA-I1-02D)
This indicator focuses on the machine-understandability aspect of the data. This means that data should be readable and thus interoperable for machines without any requirements such as specific translators or mappings (FAIR ID = RDA-I1-02D).
Data uses FAIR-compliant vocabularies (RDA-I2-01D)
The indicator requires the controlled vocabulary used for the data to conform to the FAIR principles, and at least be documented and resolvable using globally unique and persistent identifiers. The documentation needs to be easily findable and accessible (FAIR ID = RDA-I2-01D).
Data includes references to other data (RDA-I3-01D )
This indicator is about the way data is connected to other data, for example linking to previous or related research data that provides additional context to the data (FAIR ID = RDA-I3-01D).
Data is accessible through an access protocol that supports authentication and authorisation (RDA-A1.2-01D)
The indicator requires that if the data or local environment indicates a degree of additional protection then the access protocol must support authentication and authorisation of people and/or machines? (FARI ID = RDA-A1.2-01D)
Data can be accessed manually (RDA-A1-02D)
Data can be accessed manually (i.e., with human intervention, FAIR ID = RDA-A1-02D).
Data identifier resolves to a digital object (RDA-A1-03D)
Data identifier resolves to a digital object (FAIR ID = RDA-A1-03D)
Data is accessible through a standardised protocol (RDA-A1-04D)
The indicator refers to automated interactions between machines to access digital objects (FAIR ID = RDA-A1-04D).
Data can be accessed automatically (RDA-A1-05D)
Data can be accessed automatically (i.e. by a computer program, FAIR ID = RDA-A1-05D)
Data is accessible through a free access protocol (RDA-A1.1-01D)
The indicator requires that the protocol can be used free of charge which facilitates unfettered access (FAIR ID = RDA-A1.1-01D).
Field Value
Number of data rows
If tabular dataset, total number of rows.
Number of data columns
If tabular dataset, total number of unique columns.
Number of data cells
If tabular dataset, total number of cells with data.
Number of data relations
If RDF dataset, total number of triples.
Number of entities
If RDF dataset, total number of entities.
Number of data properties
If RDF dataset, total number of unique properties used by the triples.
Data quality
Describes the quality of the data in the dataset.
0% of cells are missing
Metric for data quality
A metric used to measure the quality of the data, such as missing values or invalid formats.