Every night, at least 35,000 Canadians sleep on the streets, in an emergency shelter or in temporary accommodations. Thousands more live in precarious situations, at risk for homelessness. That is just not right!
In Toronto, seven Salvation Army shelter and support services—Maxwell Meighen Centre, New Hope Leslieville, The Gateway, Florence Booth House, Evangeline Residence, Islington Seniors’ Shelter and Booth Supportive Services—offer an open door, welcome and support to people in crisis. Recently integrated as Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports, these locations meet basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, as well as provide pastoral care, addictions counselling, housing help and community follow-up support.
Our unified vision for the work of Housing and Homeless Supports is summed up under the acronym H.O.M.E.:
We do all that we can to find appropriate, affordable housing for the people we encounter each day. The biggest issue on this front is that there is simply not enough housing to go round. Waiting lists in Toronto are often 10 years long. This makes our task very difficult. However, we find housing for about 200 of our shelter residents each year. It’s important to note that ‘housing’ is only a piece of our bigger desire to help people find a “home”.
Our two main outcomes are i. getting people housed and ii. keeping people housed. This involves many levels of needed expertise around addictions, mental health, trauma counselling, spiritual care, and services and programs in general.
We are prioritizing our need to keep the focus of all that we do on our mission. All staff are formally trained in what our Salvation Army mission and core values are so as to have the DNA of The Salvation Army front and centre in all of our work.
We want to lead the way in creative, innovative approaches to this immense problem of homelessness in a way that demonstrates our desire to do the work as well as possible.