On Friday June 21st, YouthLink celebrated the opening of their new shelter for youth experiencing homelessness. The shelter, for people 16 years to 24 years old, contains 10 emergency and 41 long-term beds, including rooms for couples. It is Toronto’s only youth shelter with a dog kennel with space for at least six dogs, and with the opportunity for dogs to share the same room as their owner.
YouthLink opened their emergency shelter for youth this past week as the first part of a two stage opening that will see their transitional youth shelter open next month. The location is within a former warehouse that we converted to YouthLink’s offices 15 years ago, including the creation of a courtyard oasis in the centre of the building, which is surrounded by a low-rise, car-dominated suburban setting.
We’ve been retained by the City of Toronto to develop new design and technical guidelines for shelters providing support to people who are experiencing homelessness within the city of Toronto. We are drawing upon our extensive experience in developing nearly thirty shelters to date, supplemented by a tour of twenty existing shelters within the city, and extensive engagement of the community of shelter providers and people with lived experience through focus groups, surveys and interviews. We hope this new document will help share the best practices used by existing shelter providers across the family, youth, and singles and couples sectors, including such aspects as best practices for pet-friendly shelters, gender inclusivity, culturally supportive and non-discriminatory settings.
One of our clients, Journey Home Hospice
, a new care facility for people who are homeless and facing the end of life, has officially opened its doors this week, providing inclusive high-quality care to some of the city's most vulnerable citizens. This centre of excellence for homeless palliative care will advance national best practices of care delivery. In addition to hospice palliative care, staff and volunteers will have additional training in areas such as harm reduction, mental health and addictions, and trauma-informed care.