exterior of two story building at 4117 Lawrence Ave. ELocation: 4117 Lawrence Avenue East
Number of expected beds: up to 89
Opening date: Spring 2021
Client Group: Adults 18+ (All Gender)
Service operator: Homes First Society

A new emergency shelter will be opening at 4117 Lawrence Avenue East in Spring 2021. The shelter will be operated by Homes First Society and will include up to 89 beds for people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Emergency shelters provide temporary accommodation and related support services that assist people to move into housing.

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please email Ryan Evershed of Homes First Society.

All media, including bloggers, should email media relations.

This site was chosen for its proximity to public transportation and community services. The site is central within the Kingston-Galloway / Orton Park neighbourhood. It has access to public parks (Morningside, Highland Creek), and amenities (grocery, health, education) in addition to the community service providers.

Homes First Society will provide emergency shelter services at this site. Homes First has been providing supportive housing and shelter for over 35 years. They are one of the largest providers of services to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.

Residents of this shelter will be people experiencing homelessness and needing assistance that have been referred to 4117 Lawrence Ave. E.

Some residents might come through referrals from community agencies or individuals who contact the shelter directly, including ‘walk-ins’. Homes First will work with the individuals and Central Intake to find available and appropriate space.

Some resident referrals will likely come from Homes First’s current Scarborough Shelter (located at 3567 St. Clair Avenue East). Many of the existing residents at the St. Clair shelter are long-term Scarborough residents, some of whom work and volunteer in the local community.

The shelter will be open to all genders.

Homes First front-line community shelter workers will assist residents with intakes, referrals, crisis management, trauma informed care, harm reduction and general day-to-day support.

Homes First will also provide case management supports to residents. Homes First’s Intensive Case Management (ICM) teams include housing help workers and life skills workers. This ICM team will also include a Community Engagement & Programs Coordinator whose role will be to develop engaging programing and partnerships for residents as well as to respond to external community questions and concerns.

The shelter will also provide primary care and health care supports from external agencies.

The shelter will have a Community Engagement Space to be utilized for programming, events, community partners, workshops, volunteer engagement and more.

Community Engagement

In 2018-2019, Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) and Homes First undertook an extensive community engagement process to inform and consult the public on the renovation of 4117 Lawrence Avenue East as an emergency shelter. This process included two public ‘learn more’ sessions held within the Kingston-Galloway / Orton Park (KGO) neighbourhood.

This process resumed in fall 2020 with a schedule of updates communicated to the community and opportunities for feedback. This process will be completed before the opening of the site.

The engagement is designed in accordance with SSHA’s 2016 engagement framework.

Community Liaison Committee

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has been established for 4117 Lawrence Avenue East. A CLC is a formal committee connected to a shelter service made up of representatives of the community. CLCs meets on a regular basis to address questions, share information, discuss and collectively problem solve community concerns, and link shelter needs with community offers of support. The focus of the committee is focused on supporting the success of the shelter service in the community.

The CLC for 4117 Lawrence Avenue East is bringing together Kingston-Galloway / Orton Park neighbourhood representatives, Toronto Police Services 43 Division, Councilor Ainslie’s office, the operator – Homes First and the City of Toronto’s SSHA Division. This collaborative effort is advising the Homes First on community partnerships, shared services and concerns of residents in the neighbourhood. They will meet regularly before and after the opening of the site to hear ideas for community involvement, community safety, partnerships and public activities at 4117 Lawrence Ave. E.

If you have questions or concerns about this project or would like to express an interest in joining the CLC please contact ryan.evershed@homesfirst.on.ca.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has implemented a number of measures to protect people across the shelter system. This includes:

  • encouraging physical distancing in all areas of the shelter
  • ensuring the mandatory use of face coverings or masks
  • encouraging healthy habits such as hand washing
  • conducting symptom screening
  • increasing infection control and prevention measures such as enhanced cleaning
  • providing isolation and recovery sites for individuals who are awaiting results or test positive to recover

For a full list of COVID-19 measures implemented to enhance health safety in shelters, visit COVID-19: Changes to City Services.