Salvation Army’s New Hope Leslieville shelter opens its doors
Bradley Harris, the organization’s executive director of Toronto housing and homeless supports, did a final walk-through of the new east Toronto shelter Monday afternoon and declared it ready to welcome its first residents.
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Sixty homeless men now have a place to call home in Leslieville.
On Monday, The Salvation Army opened the doors of its New Hope Leslieville shelter at 29A/29 Leslie St., between Queen St. E. and Eastern Ave. for the first time.
Bradley Harris, the organization’s executive director of Toronto housing and homeless supports, did a final walk-through of the new east Toronto shelter early Monday afternoon and declared it ready to welcome its first residents later that day.
“We are good to open. We’ll be accepting clients after 4 p.m.,” he told The Beach Mirror during a phone interview. “We want to get clients in (the shelter) and off the streets.”
That first night, 14 guests slept over at the bright, loft-like, and fully accessible space, which features a warm and welcoming reception area, polished concrete floors, offices, a triage room, a large, dividable dining hall/community room, four dorm rooms, a full-service laundry area, washrooms, an elevator, a fenced-in patio, and a warming kitchen.
“A lot of guys were really excited with what they saw. They said they really appreciate the space,” Shelter Manager Darryl Kinnear said during a recent tour of the new multi-level facility, which will provide emergency shelter, meals, supportive counselling, follow-up services, employment referrals, rehabilitation support, and most importantly housing placement. Some of these supports will be made possible through partnerships with local agencies and organizations like the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
“It’s very exciting for us to get to a point where we can have residents in a warm and safe place. A lot of effort has gone into (preparing this facility) and all that work is paying off,” added Phil Clarke, the shelter’s assistant director.
The Salvation Army’s plan is to be able to welcome 60 guests by this weekend.
The City of Toronto through its central intake hotline as well as its Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre at 129 Peter St. will be referring people to the new shelter, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The City will also be arranging transportation for guests, as needed.
It took more than two years for the Salvation Army to acquire the property, which was previously the home of a lithographic printing business, and renovate it into a full-service, year-round shelter for adult men.
Back in April 2015, The Salvation Army was forced to close its 124-bed Hope Shelter at 167 College St., at McCaul Street, after that building was sold. The Christian church and international charitable organization was a long-time tenant of that site.
“This (new shelter) is the continuation of 40 years of work we did at College and McCaul. It’s been a long-time coming. It’s very exciting,” Harris said.
Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon offered words of welcome to the new shelter in the community.
“This is our first shelter in our ward and we are doing everything we can to support The Salvation Army with this new home,” McMahon said in a Jan. 9 news release.
“Our local working group has been meeting for months to collaborate on ideas to connect everyone to our community. The opening of our shelter is especially timely given the recent temperatures and we hope to be able to provide warm beds and services for those in need.”
An open house/grand opening event for New Hope Leslieville is set to take place in the next couple of months. More details will be shared as they become available.
People can contact the shelter directly at (647) 362-3062 if they have any questions or concerns.
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