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 at: app.toronto.ca
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 at www.reddoorshelter.ca