Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (F.O.C.U.S.) - Downtown East

F.O.C.U.S.- Downtown East is part of an innovative community safety and well-being initiative led by the City of Toronto, United Way Toronto, and Toronto Police Services. Formed in 2016, F.O.C.U.S. - Downtown East is comprised of participating members from various agencies and service areas in the downtown east area of Toronto. On a weekly basis, the group comes together at a service resolution table to identify Acutely Elevated Risk (AER) situations involving individuals and/or families that require immediate connection to services. The group pools together its knowledge and resources in order to effectively identify the right level of care that an individual in crisis may need. Then a lead agency is chosen and tasked with connecting that individual to immediate supports.

How We're Involved

Diane Versace is Cota’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team and FOCUS (Mid-East Toronto Health Link Integrated Service Coordination Team) Manager. She participates in F.O.C.U.S.- Downtown East resolution table weekly.

Each Case is Unique

A vulnerable Toronto resident’s case was presented at the table. Dan was inebriated on the street in the downtown east end, expressing suicidal thoughts. He was sent to CAMH, and then was sent home. Afterwards, Police expressed concern about Dan’s well-being while at home. Cota was able to provide immediate help and psychiatric support within 48 hours. The connection to a community psychiatrist helped Dan to identify his stressors at the time. He continues to see a psychiatrist, follows a coordinated treatment plan, and has had no relapse or hospitalization since that incident.

Cota's Participation & Overall Goals 

Approximately 150 cases have been presented. Cota has been involved with 15 of these cases – five of which we were the lead agency. Our involvement ranges from service provision to collaborating with other agencies on ensuring some sort of care can be offered. This group ensures that agencies in Toronto’s East End are making strides to offer immediate services to individuals who are most at risk.