When did the OOTC program start? How did the OOTC program start?
The Out of the Cold (OOTC) program was created in 1987 by Sister Susan Moran. The program was created after a group of students from St. Michael’s school befriended a homeless man who frequented the area. After he tragically passed away, the students discussed how they could alleviate homelessness with Sister Moran. Inspired by their conversation, Sister Moran started connecting with different faith-groups across the city, and the OOTC program began. Today, the program is offered at 16 sites across Toronto, including churches, mosques, and synagogues.
Where does the OOTC program operate? When does the OOTC program operate?
The OOTC program is offered across the city of Toronto in many different locations, from the downtown core, to the Beaches, up to North York. For a full-list of OOTC sites, please review the season calendar. The program operates beginning on November 1st, through April 5th. In 2017, due to unprecedented demand on Toronto’s shelter system, the OOTC program ran until May at three sites, for the first time ever.
Who uses the OOTC program? How many people use the OOTC program?
The OOTC program is used by men and women experiencing homelessness from all walks of life. Homelessness does not discriminate. Some guests may use the program because the Toronto shelter system is full, others choose to use the OOTC program instead of the shelter system because they prefer the environment. Through our data coordination and analysis work, we know approximately 1,241 people used the program in the 2017-2018 season, and that 75% of guests identified as male. Generally, males between 40-54 are the highest demographic accessing the program, but we see ages ranging from 19-78. For more information on program usage and user demographics, please review our OOTC research reports.
What happens if a site is full?
Every site has its own individual capacity available to guests, and its own policies on how to handle guests in excess of their capacity. Generally, sites make every effort to ensure no one is left out at their site. If impossible to accommodate extra guests, individuals are referred to City of Toronto 24-hour respite sites.
What services and supports are provided to guests of the OOTC program?
Every OOTC site provides guests with a hot, nutritious meal (open to the community to attend), a mat to sleep on; breakfast in the morning for overnight guests, and TTC tokens. Select sites offer donated clothing rooms, laundry facilities, and legal clinics. Dixon Hall provides support to sites including Client Intervention Workers, training and de-escalation support, and general logistical supports.
What is Dixon Hall’s role in the OOTC program?
Dixon Hall provides support services to 16 OOTC sites across the city, which includes: management and logistical supports, safety, data coordination and analysis, and supplies Client Intervention Workers to connect with guests in hopes of seeking additional resources and finding supportive housing.
How can I support the OOTC program?
To support the OOTC program, please consider:
- Donating to ease the financial cost on faith-based organizations
- Volunteering to support men and women experiencing homelessness
- Getting involved in the advocacy efforts for affordable and supportive housing in Toronto
I’d like to volunteer for the OOTC program. How can I get involved?
Please contact Joyce Affroh, Manager of Volunteer Services:
416-863-0499 x 3225
I’d like to attend the OOTC program as media. How can I arrange a site visit?
Media are not permitted at OOTC sites without being granted advance permission through Dixon Hall’s Communications team. To make a media request, please contact:
416-863-0499 x 2062
What is the policy for taking photos at the OOTC program?
Typically, photos are not permitted at the OOTC program as we make a best effort to protect our guest’s privacy. In special cases, exceptions may be made. For more information on photography policy, please contact:
416-863-0499 x 2062
How many people have been housed through CIW work?
Our Client Intervention Workers have successfully housed 132 guests since January 2016. Once housed, Client Intervention Workers continue their relationships with former OOTC guests to help ensure housing is maintained, and that additional supports are put into place as necessary.
Do OOTC sites accept clothing or other donations?
Yes! The OOTC site relies on donations and volunteers to run every year. To find out how you can best support the faith-based organizations who host men and women experiencing homelessness, please contact:
Director, Philanthropy & Communications
416-863-0499 x 2061