What to expect from a homeless shelter in the Junction, a view by a homeless person. 

The proposed Homeless shelter at Runnymede and St Clair W. will certainly increase the local homeless population, with travel though the Junction Dundas strip  increasing also, as many people will be moving between the social agencies in the Bloor and Dundas St W. Area, and the shelter. 

So I thought it would reasonable to get a post written by a homeless person. 

This blog post has been written by a current homeless person in the city, who had been living in the shelter system for 3 years, he is also a Cambridge UK. university educated.

Most shelters require their residents to be out of the building during the day from 8.00am to 5.30pm. This is to give their staff an opportunity to clean the premises.
This is not so much a problem in the summer where those who are not working (most) make their way to the parks, beaches and other open spaces.

In the winter it is much more difficult to find places to keep warm. Shopping malls
Government offices, Tim Hortons. There is a great shortage of this sort of accommodation, for both hot and cold weather.
There is a large differences  between shelters in how they interact with their residents.
The  Good Shepherd Shelter on Queen St. E offers  Breakfast between  7.00 to 8.00 am, at which time all residents are required to leave for the day.
Residents have to be back by 5.30pm. Those who do not turn up have their bed re-allocated. A snack is provided is at 7.00pm.
This is more of a snack than a meal although those on the DARE (Drug & Alcohol Rehabiitation) get a full meal at 8.00pm. (Blog author differs in opinion to the time of the Dare programs meals, I think 4pm)

All residents must in their beds are at 11.00pm unless an extention has been granted by their case worker, allowing a late return to the shelter.

A common main meal of the day served at the Good Shepherd Shelter on Queen St East. 2pm to 4pm.


The Good Shepherd Shelter probably offers a general, well attended main meal everyday between 2 and 4 pm. This meal is open to the public.

Stay lengths at The Good Shepherd Shelter are generally kept to two weeks, extensions can and are allowed for people who are using The Good Shepherd Shelter housing service to help them find permanent housing.
GATEWAY a Salvation Army shelter offers 90 bed for residents, Breakfast is served at 7.00. Residents are expected to be out of the dorms by 7.45am although use of the dining room is permitted throughout the day. 

Lunch is served from 12.00 to 1.00pm and dinner is served 4.30 to 5.30pm. Three nights a week drop in diners are allowed to have dinner.
Those looking for a bed have leave their names with a desk during the day and when the 10.00pm bed-check shows vacancies these spaces are filled.
Lights are out at 10.00pm which is also bed check time

Tomorrow on the blog 

15 things you should know about homeless shelter residents, now that one is coming to the Junction.

7 Comments

Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Raymond says:

    Link in Condo article above this one does not work.

  2. junctioneer says: (Author)

    corrected thks for letting me know.

  3. junctionist says:

    Interesting post. I didn’t know that the homeless had to vacate the shelters during the day. That explains why you see so many homeless people walking around areas like Queen and Sherbourne or hanging out in the local parks during the day. It can make an area seem like a destitute “skid row”. I hope that doesn’t happen to the Junction. It doesn’t matter if you’re north or south of the railway tracks–people have invested a lot in their homes and businesses.

    Shelters are important to provide a safety net in society for vulnerable people. Ideally, people get a safe place to spend the night as they search for a job and the right healthcare and social support to turn their lives around. But I think that the city needs to consider the impact on the community when it creates a concentration of poverty in a shelter, and invest in the communities themselves to prevent decline. The shelter itself should be an attractive building with quality landscaping.

    I’d be more open to this development if the city did a good job maintaining the area north of the tracks. But the local roads like Ethel Avenue and West Toronto Street are in terrible shape. Why doesn’t the city give Maple Leaf Foods on Ethel Avenue or the big box plazas some good roads and sidewalks? Don’t commercial/industrial property owners pay the highest tax rates? George Bell Arena at Runnymede Park has an ugly exterior and parking lot. The city doesn’t seem to keep a lid on illegal dumping, either.

    If you go for a walk or drive in the area south of St. Clair between Keele and Runnymede, you wonder why everything that’s public property looks worn out and badly maintained, while the houses generally seem well maintained and the businesses are full of customers. The area shouldn’t become a ghetto because of city neglect.

    • junctioneer says: (Author)

      Thks for the great comment. My personal statement experience working with and at odds (about equal in time and effort) the basic problem is austerity planning and budgeting by our city council.

    • junctioneer says: (Author)

      Thks for the great comment. My personal experience working with the city and odds with it is that the austerity planning and budgeting, method used by the City of Toronto is not a valid method. The neither taxes nor or replies proper these too businesses, especially to developers. Developers I have worked with and others I have spoken to you when I asked how they feel about the development fees in Toronto, as compared to other cities, usually joke, that’s something that needs be ignored. The Trunnell counsel things properly regulating business bees will simply cut down the amount of businesses in the city, it will not.

      I too wonder why the areas South of St. Clair Avenue are in such disrepair also.

  4. Dawna says:

    RE: the proposed Runnymede & St.Clair.(previously Goodwill)-100 bed -24hr men’s shelter. There is a meeting Tuesday May 31st 7-8:30 at David Appleton Centre(33 Pritchard Ave) north of St.Clair/west of Jane St. Come and get informed and have your say.
    for more info: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=a51b3a0caeab4510VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=c0aeab2cedfb0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

  5. Deane says:

    There are actually some big issues that need to be examined here. First and foremost, this shelter is in Rockcliff-Smythe, and although we are very close neighborhoods we have huge socio-economic difference. I.e., the Junction is a thriving neighborhood, while Rockcliff- Smyth is a Priority neighborhood, meaning that the Junctions Neighborhood Equity/Health scores are almost double that of Rockcliff-Smythe. What does that look like on the ground – Rockcliff –Smythe residents are more likely to be on social assistance, we have a huge amount of young people dropping out of high school, a low number of youth going to post-secondary, teen pregnancy rates are high, and we have a higher crime rate. This neighborhood also has so few services (we have 1 community organization working in the neighborhood, and a sexual health clinic). There is actually a ‘Strong Neighborhood Strategy 2020,” put out to address some of the injustices and inequalities in priority neighborhood and residents in RS are really questioning how a shelter fits into that plan and whether or not this vulnerable community can support the people coming in with complex needs and if this is the best fit based on all of our other challenges. I think people had hopes that we would get better school programs, employment workshops, something to help reduce neighborhood crime.

    I am a social worker, I work with people staying in shelters who often experience homelessness, I also work part time at a shelter. I did a survey of the resources in the neighborhood, imagining what it might be like to provide supports to the clients I serve – I was trying to find harm reduction supplies (clean needles and crack pipes), ID services, a clothing bank, and a drop in. I found none of these things so when I looked up the closest available resources –the harm-reduction supplies were 2 buses and a 10 minute walk away and the ID services were a 50 minute transit ride away. Our neighborhoods community centre is for seniors and there were no drop-in services anywhere.
    Community Services are very important for people living in shelters. Gordon Tanner (who is a projects director for the City of Toronto with Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration) did let us know at our community information session that the shelter would have a drop in – but that needs to be renamed a ‘stay-in’. People don’t get well and thrive in shelters, those things happen in the community and unfortunately my neighborhood does not have a strong enough support system to encourage that. My main concern lies with the high needs and low infrastructure in Rockcliffe-Smythe to support a huge influx of people with really complex lives. It just seems irresponsible to bring 100 vulnerable people into an already vulnerable community. Community activist, including psychiatrist have been requesting the city complete neighborhood surveys since before the general public even realized Seaton House was being closed. Here is an example of a deputation, I encourage you to read as one means of information, there are several others. (http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/cc/comm/communicationfile-56915.pdf). These city decisions have big implications for shelter users and the vulnerable neighborhoods they seem to be targeting.

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