City says longer-term solutions needed to address continued increase in demand for emergency shelter

house in hands

BRANTFORD, ON – Anticipating an increased level of need for emergency shelter in both the short and long-term, the City has implemented a series of measures to increase our current emergency shelter beds capacity, as well as advocating for initiatives to support long-term solutions. Currently, the City has:

  • Increased the single adult permanent bed capacity in Brantford-Brant resulting in a current capacity of eighty-eight beds, which is comparable with emergency shelter capacity in our neighbouring municipalities.
  • Implemented a ‘cold alert’ sheltering system, which will provide shelter to homeless individuals during Cold Weather Alerts issued by the Brant County Health Unit.
  • Secured a $24,500 grant from the Canadian Medical Association to support the extension of the Grand River Community Health Centre’s Covid-19 Medical Supports Program until the end of January 2021 by providing patient assessment and care for shelter residents at high risk of severe outcomes due to COVID-19 pending test results, diagnosed with COVID-19, and those with acute medical issues without access to a family doctor.
  • Secured $1.9 M in provincial funding through the Social Services Relief Fund to support homeless and other vulnerable individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will be used to continue the City’s Homelessness COVID-19 Response plan in partnership with local health and social services agencies which includes the provision of additional shelter spaces and health supports.

Per capita (100,000) Brantford-Brant has 64 shelter beds per 100,000 citizens compared to Hamilton at 62 per 100,000, Haldimand Norfolk at 23 per 100,000, Niagara Region at 52 per 100,000, Hastings County at 15 per 100,000 and Halton at 6 per 100,000 citizens.

“While maintaining a well operated emergency shelter system is important , we also need to refocus efforts on more proactive long-term solutions such as increasing our investment in more affordable housing options, shelter diversion programs and advocating for additional provincially-funded health supports for those experiencing homelessness,” said Aaron Wallace, Acting General Manager of the City’s Health and Human Services Commission. “

The City is better positioned to plan longer term solutions through implementation of the HIFIS (Homeless Individual and Family Information) System, which will provide more efficient access to reliable data for emergency shelter system planning while improving the capabilities of community agencies to provide seamless, integrated support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Because many homeless individuals require intensive medical or treatment supports – conditions that make it more difficult for them to maintain housing or even access shelters,   

City staff is also working closely with the Brantford-Brant Ontario Health Team to facilitate better access to healthcare and treatment for homeless individuals in need of these supports.

Recognizing that long-term solutions to homelessness must also include access to affordable housing, Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis and County of Brant Mayor David Bailey have developed the Mayors’ Housing Partnerships Task Force to bring together community stakeholders to find land, funding and partnerships with the goal of building 750 affordable housing units in the next ten years. A Final Task Force Report regarding plans to reach this goal will presented to both Councils in January 2021.

For more information about the City’s Emergency Shelter network and how to access services, please visit



Media Contact:
Maria Visocchi Director, Communications and Community Engagement
City of Brantford | Office: 519.759.4150 Ext. 5754 |


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