Red Door Family Shelter, one of Toronto’s oldest operating family shelters, reopened its doors today at a ceremony led by Mayor John Tory and Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), who championed the project. The innovative shelter, integrated into a private residential condo building at its original location on the corner of Booth Avenue and Queen Street East in Leslieville, is now purpose-built and will house families in more than 100 beds each night.
In May 2015, City Council approved the purchase of 20,000 square feet of space – the shelter portion of the total space in the new building — for $7.4 million. The City of Toronto, Harhay Development and the Red Door Family Shelter participated in a unique arrangement that saw the redevelopment of the original church site into condos, with the Red Door Shelter occupying four floors. This is the first condo development in Toronto to incorporate a shelter into a private residential development. The City owns the shelter property, provides funding for operating costs and is leasing it back to the Red Door for a nominal fee. During the redevelopment, the Red Door Family Shelter leased 1430 Gerrard St. E. from the City, where they operated their emergency shelter.
City Council’s decision on City support for the Red Door Shelter is available here
The new Red Door provides private bedrooms and bathrooms to families and enhanced facilities including an outdoor children’s play area, a dedicated food bank, a communal dining and social area and a commercial kitchen. The family shelter is woven into the fabric of the Leslieville community, with Red Door families supported by local community and health centres, schools and other local services.
As part of the ceremony, Councillor Fletcher was presented with a plaque from the Red Door for her leadership, dedication and service to saving the shelter and supporting countless generations of Torontonians that rely on agencies for housing and support services.
Red Door representatives Ann Elliott (President and Chair, Board of Directors) and Carol Latchford (Executive Director) were joined by special guests Chris Harhay (President, Harhay Developments); Louise Blais, past Red Door resident; Mayor Tory and Councillor Fletcher to open the new shelter.
Since 1982, Red Door Family Shelter has provided emergency shelter and support for women and children affected by intimate partner abuse, families experiencing a housing crisis and refugee claimants. The Red Door Family Shelter, which takes its name from the red front door of the former church that signaled a safe haven, provides support to families every year. The average length of stay for shelter residents is approximately five months.
More information about the Red Door Family Shelter can be found here
B-roll and images of the Red Door shelter are available here
“I am pleased to see the Red Door Family Shelter back in its original home in Leslieville, where many families in crisis were provided with a safe haven and support over the years. As one of the largest family shelters in Toronto, Red Door’s dedicated and caring staff will be able to continue to provide a safe space for their shelter residents at this beautifully renovated location and help reduce the impact of homelessness through supportive services during and beyond their life in the shelter. I want to thank and congratulate the Red Door Family Shelter staff, Councillor Fletcher and Harhay Development for their commitment and work on this project.”
– Mayor John Tory
“It is so wonderful to welcome the Red Door back to Leslieville. Thank you to everyone who supported the Save the Red Door campaign and fought to preserve its home on Queen Street East, where it is surrounded by schools, local services and caring neighbours. We came together to stand up for women, children and families in need who relied on the shelter and on our community. The ongoing support from residents is so moving and I know East Enders will continue to support the Red Door. I hope this new innovative model will also be used to create inclusive and welcoming communities across the city.”
– Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth)
“The Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division is grateful for service providers like the Red Door Family Shelter who have provided a safe haven and a wide range of important supports and services to families experiencing homelessness for decades, including assistance with finding permanent housing. As we celebrate Red Door’s new space and its return to Leslieville, we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our most vulnerable residents can access temporary accommodation when they need it, and that permanent housing options are available, accessible and sustainable.”
– Mary-Anne Bedard, General Manager, Shelter Support and Housing Administration
“For decades, the Red Door has symbolized hope, safety and comfort for individuals and families in distress, and we are thrilled to be opening our door once again to offer our services and support. This new shelter will help us continue to provide children with more space to learn and grow, help newcomers find their footing in our community, and help families feel safe and secure. We are very grateful to everyone who has supported us in this project, and we look forward to returning to our community – Leslieville – in our permanent home.”
– Carol Latchford, Executive Director, Red Door Family Shelter