TPH, Toronto Police Service launch Downtown CORE Team pilot program


Toronto-Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the Toronto Police Service (TPS) launched the Downtown Community Outreach Response and Engagement (CORE) Team, a one-year pilot program to support vulnerable people, as well as other residents, visitors and businesses in the Yonge and Dundas area. 

Designed to address the complex health, mental health, substance use and housing needs of vulnerable individuals in this neighbourhood, the Downtown CORE Team will provide proactive support to improve access to health and social services. The Downtown CORE Team is not an emergency crisis response service and is not reachable through 911 or 211. 

Led by a specialized team of public health nurses and supported by a nurse practitioner, the program will provide short-term case management, health and social service referrals, as well as overdose and substance use responses. TPS officers will support these efforts to ensure safety for the team, members of the public and those receiving support. All team members will receive training in trauma-informed practices, harm reduction approaches and healing-centred engagement, to create environments that support holistic well-being for individuals 

The Downtown CORE Team will collaborate with organizations operating in the Yonge and Dundas area, including the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, Toronto Community Crisis Service, Gerstein Crisis Centre, Toronto Metropolitan University and Unity Health Toronto.  

Data and feedback will be gathered throughout the pilot program through regular consultations with community partners, including individuals with lived experience of substance use and frontline services providers. The City of Toronto is committed to strengthening and protecting the mental health, wellbeing and safety of all Torontonians.  

More information is available on the Our Health, Our City webpage and the SafeTO: A Community Safety & Well-Being Plan webpage.

“The mental health and addiction crises in our city are not only chronic but complex, demanding immediate and innovative interventions. By fostering partnerships between healthcare professionals, the business community, Toronto Police Service and the City of Toronto, we demonstrate our shared commitment to treating these crises as health matters, rather than criminal ones. The Board of Health and Toronto Public Health remain steadfast advocates for holistic, evidence-based healthcare services, inclusive of prevention, treatment and harm reduction. We continue to urge the provincial government to increase funding and access to a wide array of treatment options, such as the essential implementation of 24/7 stabilization crisis centres. Together, we can turn the tide on these pressing issues affecting our communities.” – Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), Chair of the Board of Health