Shelter & Housing
on Lansdowne

A place to rebuild

Photo credit: LGA Architects/Ben Rahn A Frame

31,390
nights of shelter provided annually

816
individuals stayed at the shelter last year

86
stayed for extended periods in our transitional housing program

Shelter at 973 Lansdowne

In partnership with our Drop-In & Food Access Program, and the Men’s Shelter at 850 Bloor Street West, the Men’s Shelter at 973 Lansdowne Avenue provides overnight shelter and supports the well-being of 68 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. 973 Lansdowne is also home to 20 units of transitional housing for men who are on their way to independent living following a shelter stay.

Men arrive at the shelter in the midst of extremely difficult life circumstances, coping with newcomer and refugee displacement issues, inadequate health care, recent release from detention, detox and other treatment centres, lack of education and employable skills among other circumstances.

Focusing on chronically homeless individuals, we are committed to decreasing on-going shelter use by facilitating comprehensive support and community follow up support. Over the past 2 years, 103 clients from our emergency shelter and transitional housing, have moved to more stable housing.

We are committed to supporting clients to increase their income, while also increasing social inclusion and supportive community linkages, contributing to housing stability. Eighty-five percent (85%) of our clients residing in permanent supportive housing have retained their housing for 1 year or more.

Approximately thirty nine percent (39%) of all clients who leave the shelter and Transitional housing programs have established a form of income. Nearly 20% of that 39% exit with Employment Income.

Transitional Housing

The Transitional Housing Program offers 20 self-contained bachelor apartments with transitional supports that focus on developing life skills that will allow residents to obtain long-term housing in the community as well as pursuing other goals for sustainable independent living.

CONC transitional housing tenants contribute invaluably to community life at 973 Lansdowne, taking on the daily upkeep of the housing grounds and acting as role models for shelter residents. CONC supported transitional housing tenants to explore new community-based employment ventures in 2015/16 including gardening, landscaping, car detailing and bicycle maintenance.

As tenants prepare to leave transitional housing, they are supported through measures such as landlord outreach and references, assistance with obtaining furniture and moving, advocacy and eviction prevention, designated CONC food bank access, and on-going follow-up support so that they may maintain their housing and make a successful transition back to life in the greater community.

CONC transitional housing tenants contribute invaluably to community life at 973 Lansdowne, taking on the daily upkeep of the housing grounds and acting as role models for shelter residents. CONC supported transitional housing tenants to explore new community-based employment ventures in 2015/16 including gardening, landscaping, car detailing and bicycle maintenance.

The Breaking Barriers Program

A primary outcome in both the shelter and transitional housing programs 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 at 850 Bloor Street West.

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

Our Courtyard Gardens

The courtyard gardens at our Lansdowne shelter location boast large sunflowers, lush flowers and plants while also providing edibles including fresh herbs and vegetables that are harvested and incorporated into healthy meals for shelter residents. It is maintained year round and is an integral part of the high standard of service CONC sets out to provide for every person who walks through our doors.
The gardens have been developed and are maintained courtesy of HB Gardening Services, a social enterprise owned and operated by residents of our Men’s Transitional Housing Program, which you can learn more about below.

Our Food

We take significant pride in the meals we serve in our shelters.  Our Executive Chef, Mark Ezrin, is a 23 year food industry veteran. He has completed the highest level of Chef Certification in Canada, the Certified Chef de Cuisine, and he works with his team, which includes a registered nutritionist and professional caterer, to provide gourmet, quality meals and snacks that are high in nutrition, meet or exceed the requirements of the Canada Food Guide and make use of local produce wherever possible while appealing to a range of tastes.

The team continually strives to accommodate food allergies or intolerances, religious dietary restrictions or medically prescribed diets wherever possible.
They also ensure that protein-based vegetarian options are always available. We continually welcome participant feedback on the food we serve and our Health & Wellness program supports participants in applying for Special Diet funds as applicable, and provides external referrals to support specific dietary requirements where needed.

Second Harvest

HB Gardening Services

Through our Breaking Barriers – Employment and Training Program, CONC supports shelter and transitional residents in working towards their goals. An example of this is the founding of HB Gardening Services – a transitional resident-run social business that provides yard and garden grooming and clean up in all seasons around Toronto. ‘You supply the mess & we will supply the labour’  – the business motto that is proudly displayed on their Facebook page, where you can follow their success and inquire about their services.

Breaking Barriers
Housing Starter Kits

Every month, our Breaking Barriers Housing Supervisor helps a number clients enter the housing market in a way that meets their needs, personal goals & safety. The process can be difficult as housing a single client can take months of waiting and years of follow-up in support of eviction prevention – which has become a vital part of the work we do.  One way to promote the success of a client’s housing is to make sure they are equipped with the basic components needed to make a fresh start in a new home.

Organizing a Breaking Barriers Housing Starter Kit is a great way for community members to directly contribute to a significant gap in the delivery of services. As clients moving out of the shelter system typically do not have all the items needed for the transition, Housing Starter Kits provide the basic foundation needed to start building a home. We have compiled a list of items that make up the basis of a Housing Starter Kit; Many of these items can even be purchased at a dollar store, making this an affordable way to give back.  Those interested in creating a Kit of their own or contributing to a Kit we have ‘on-the-go’, can download our ‘Housing Starter Kit Wish List’ and contact us to get started.

Our History

Did you know that our hostel and transitional shelter are housed within an historic Toronto landmark?

The surrounding structure of our 68 bed shelter and brick courtyard were the site of municipal stables called ‘Lansdowne Stables’ in Toronto during the early 1900’s.

The facade of the shelter building still showcases an original door on the second floor, above our current intake office.  You can view this door in our featured picture from the Toronto archives from 1924!

During the most difficult times of my life I was welcomed at CONC. I was provided with food and a safe environment as I look for housing and work. An appointment was scheduled to meet with staff from various programs to help access and determine my needs so that I can begin to get my life back together. Without their support this journey would have been much more difficult on my own.

Participant
Transitional Housing

When I first came to CONC I was at my lowest, I had lost everything and had no hope. Working with the Housing Team has been the best thing for me, they helped me to find housing and then I was able to find a job. I am very happy to have met the workers at CONC as they have helped me rebuild my life again.

Participant
Transitional Housing

CONC gave me a sense of community and support to achieve my education goals. The staffs were are always more than happy to assist me with my homework as English is not my first language and provided bus tokens for me to go school. With their support I graduated from college in August 2015 with a diploma in Project Administration and will now be pursuing a higher education at the University of Toronto.

Participant
Transitional Housing

Our Supporters

  • The City of Toronto
  • Daily Bread Food Bank
  • Second Harvest

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

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