Shelter on Bloor

Toronto’s newest fully
accessible shelter

of shelter facilities in Toronto
are inaccessible

fully accessible spots will be added to Toronto’s shelter system

nights of shelter
will be provided each year

Men’s Shelter
at 850 Bloor Street West

In partnership with our Drop-In & Food Access Program, and Shelter/Housing at 973 Lansdowne Avenue, the Men’s Shelter at 850 Bloor Street West will provide overnight shelter supporting the well-being of 30 men each night in Toronto’s West End who are homeless, street-oriented and facing mental health challenges, substance use issues, unemployment and other barriers to maintaining adequate housing.

In November 2015, Toronto City Council voted to open new shelter beds across our city in response to the preventable deaths of several homeless community members during the 2014/15 winter months. After a city-wide call for proposals, Toronto City Council selected Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre as one of nine agencies designated to respond to the crisis through increased shelter operations – in our case, through the addition of 30 beds on Bloor Street West by the fall of 2016.

This past year was one of exciting expansion in our Shelter & Housing program as construction continued at 850/854 Bloor Street West toward the completion of our new 30-bed shelter. 850/854 Bloor Street West will be a full integrated facility, connecting the new 30-bed shelter with our Drop-In & Food Access Program as well as LOFT Kitchen, our youth-centered café and catering social enterprise. The tenets of Life Management, Health & Wellness, Income Security and Housing will work across these three programs, providing comprehensive services and supports for participants, social enterprise employees and residents alike. Equipped with an elevator, accessible washrooms and shower facilities, 850/854 Bloor Street West will be a fully accessible site, and will add 6 fully accessible beds to Toronto’s shelter system.

The need for accessible shelters in Toronto is critical. Only 4 of 15 shelters for single men are accessible (27%), compared to 15 of 22 shelters in Vancouver, for example (68%). As our homeless population ages, need for accessibility increases. According to the Toronto Star in 2013, homeless seniors have doubled since 2009. People 61+ now constitute 10% of Toronto’s homeless. According to the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, links between poverty, risk of homelessness and disabilities are well documented. People with disabilities are twice as likely to live below the poverty line. Additionally, living in poverty is likely to increase instances of disability.

Community Liaison
Committee (CLC)

To facilitate the arrival of the new shelter within the Bloorcourt Community, we worked with our partners at the City of Toronto Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) and ward 19 city councillor Mike Layton to organize the launch of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) on September 28th, 2016. The CLC is run by the Outreach & Communications Manager, Samantha Vite, and serves as a communications vehicle and venue of collaboration between CONC, residents, local businesses, and other community stakeholders.

The goals of the CLC are to build upon the strengths and assets of all community members and upon our learnings as a shelter operator for over 20 years in Toronto’s West End. We are fortunate to work closely alongside program participants, local residents and other stakeholders in supporting the first year of our new shelter in the Bloorcourt community.

CLC meetings are held during the last week of every month, subject to exceptions.

(All CLC materials prepared by OCM, Samantha Vite)

City of Toronto SSHA Shelter Standards 2016

CLC & Community Response Initiative General Information

Meeting Agendas

Meeting Minutes

CONC’s Community Response Initiative is here to answer questions and respond to concerns.

Please fill out our form below to bring any comments or concerns about our new shelter at 850/854 Bloor St. West to the attention of our Outreach & Communications Manager. Questions or requests for information about shelter tours or our Community Liaison Committee are also welcome. Please allow 24-48 hours for a response. Thank you!

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The Breaking Barriers Program

A primary outcome in our Bloor shelter program includes the establishment of an individualized service plan for every client, following the pillars of Life Management, Health & Wellness, Employment and Housing, and based on their level of need. These pillars of support form The Breaking Barriers Program, and are delivered in partnership with our Drop-In & Food Access Program, and Shelter/Housing at 973 Lansdowne Avenue.

To decrease use of emergency shelter services by chronically homeless individuals, we assist clients to build their assets in Life Management, Health & Wellness, Income Security and Housing, coordinating rehousing as quickly as appropriate when they are ready, and engaging in strong community follow up support.

Words from our Community Members…

Shelters are a vital part of the complete spectrum of resources and housing required for a comprehensive strategy to end homelessness.

Our household – which consists of two children, both of which commute through Bloor & Ossington 5-7 days a week – strongly support inclusivity in our backyard in the form of a men’s shelter on Bloor. Our household and friends would be more than happy to welcome such a centre into our community, and soon.

My neighbourhood is for everyone – especially the most vulnerable among us.

I live in this neighbourhood and am happy to support people who are needing to use the services of a shelter. If the situation were reversed, I would want people to support me. Isn’t it as simple as that? Isn’t this what true community is all about?

I ride my bike along Bloor at 530am. I see people on the street huddled in store fronts when it is -30C. What kind of city do you want to live in?

I live in the neighbourhood and welcome a shelter. This city is in need of more supports for the homeless, and for the good of this city, none of us can afford to be NIMBYs.

I knew of men who are no longer with us that may have benefited from such a program.

We need to continue building a community that supports everyone. Much has improved in this neighbourhood in the last 20 years. This will not harm or impede that growth but only strengthen supports for those who need it most.

A community is judged by how well it treats those who need the most care and support.

I am a home owner in this neighbourhood and I support the development of this shelter. We badly need more shelter beds in this city. I am one of many people in this neighbourhood that welcomes the opening of this shelter.

Yes in my back yard!

I support our community being a caring, compassionate, and livable downtown neighbourhood. This initiative has my full support.

This is great work, everyone has a right to space, shelter, and safety. I hope others will join me in warmly welcoming our new neighbours.

Shelter is a fundamental human right. I’m proud of the work you are doing.

I live in the area and support the rights of homeless and underhoused people to get shelter in our neighbourhood. Healthy communities work to meet the needs of vulnerable people, recognize them as “us,” respect their dignity and not just tell them to go elsewhere.

Yes to a shelter in my community! The more beds the better, and I want my neighbourhood to be one that is welcoming for people of all kinds.

The last thing I want is for one of my neighbours to die this winter because they weren’t able to access the shelter space that would have protected them from the elements. Thank heavens this shelter is opening around the corner from my house. We desperately need it.

Shelters in the city are currently over capacity and the number of people seeking shelter is steadily increasing. Add to that the fact that shelters have been closing across the city (and even more are facing closure), and you’re looking a situation that will prove deadly unless something is done. Lives were lost last winter, and the shelter situation will only be worse this winter unless more spaces are added. Of course, the real solution to this problem is to build more subsidized housing, but the need is so great and we are so far behind in addressing it, that emergency shelter spaces are critically necessary in the interim. It’s a life or death situation, and I don’t want my neighbours freezing to death on sidewalks this winter, or burning to death while trying to keep warm. Welcome to the neighbourhood. 🙂

This is absolutely the right location for this badly needed contribution to an emergency housing situation

I want to live in a diverse community. I used to live near Na Ma Res Shelter and appreciated all of the vibrance it added to my neighbourhood, including the Hilcrest community garden and Pow Wows on St Clair. I hope this initiative will add to my community and help my children learn about the need to support others when they are vulnerable, and the civic responsibility to be there for our fellow human beings.

© Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. Charity Registration Number: 898720651RR0001

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