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Advent of Activism Day 3: Homelessness & housing affordability

2017 was full of disasters. We can do something about it. Each day in December, we're telling you how to help people or places in need. Welcome to our Advent of Activism.

Meal program volunteers at Toronto's St. Felix Centre.


Meal program volunteers at Toronto's St. Felix Centre.

DAY 3: Homelessness here at home

Homelessness has been entrenced in Toronto for decades — but as a crisis of housing affordability grips the city, the issue is more urgent than ever.

How to help:

Dozens of local agencies serve homeless and street-involved adults, seniors and youth around Toronto.

West Neighbourhood House serves 15,000 people in the downtown and west end, including seniors, homeless adults and newcomer families, providing education and basic literacy programs, Meals on Wheels, adult drop-in centres, and many other services. The centre currently needs toiletry kits with small containers of soap, shampoo, toothpaste deodorant and lip balm. Financial donations are also appreciated. To donate in kind, contact Nelson Lynch at or-532-7586 ext.226. To contribute by credit card, visit

St. Felix Centre is a community centre in downtown Toronto that provides community meals, free clothing bank, access to showers, work skills development, a cold-weather shelter and many other programs. It's the only centre of its kind that invites clients to bring along their pets. It's open around-the-clock during the winter and according to spokesman Enrique Cochegrus, financial needs increase "exponentially" during this time of year. To donate, visit


Sistering is a 24/7, low-barrier drop-in shelter for women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Programs focus on harm reduction, arts activities, and the Inspirations Studio and Spun Studio, where women make crafts and pottery to sell for supplemental income. Information on donating or volunteering at

Covenant House is a 24/7 shelter for youth aged 16 to 24 that also provides education programs, job skills, spiritual care and more. The agency's website has a Christmas wish list and financial donations are also sought.

The City of Toronto maintains a list of local agencies serving the homeless and their needs for the winter season.

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