Gateway Linens is an industrial laundry facility providing training and employment to people living in the shelter system. This social enterprise was birthed from a desire to help our friends on the street reintegrate into the workforce. This program enrolls five individuals from our shelters at a time who we walk alongside for up to 12 months, helping and encouraging them to overcome the barriers they face to employment.
“It was one of those middle-of-the-night things,” recalls Dion Oxford, founder of Gateway Linens. “I remember hearing a guy at the shelter say we should do our own laundry. The idea sat in the back of my mind. Then one night, I woke up thinking we had to do this. We’ve got able-bodied men who want to work, and they have essentially been declared unemployable by our culture. Then we have this amount of money we’re already spending on laundry for our shelter. Why can’t we build an industrial laundry facility and do the laundry ourselves and train the guys who live here to help them reintegrate into the workforce?”
Once men graduate from the program, a local employer—K-Bro Linens—has promised to hire every one of the graduates into full-time work.
Gateway Linens now works for restaurants, spas, banquet halls, hotels, shelters and is open for business with any other organization that requires a laundry service. They currently clean about 5,000 sheets every week, as well as blankets, blankets, tablecloths and napkins.
We believe that this program, which comes out of our love for Jesus and therefore our love of our neighbour, is a very pure form of the Gospel. The people doing the laundry are working hard to rediscover their self-worth and their capacity to reintegrate into the workforce. We expect that our program participants will experience a real sense of God’s presence and blessing in their lives.
In The News: Toronto Star Yonge Street Magazine