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Oct23ThuThe Salvation Army's Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports provide help, healing and hope. October 23, 2014 Story by Giselle Randall and photos by Warren Pot
Every night, at least 30,000 Canadians sleep on the streets, in an emergency shelter or in temporary accommodations. Thousands more live in precarious situations, at risk for homelessness. The causes of homelessness are complex, with structural and individual factors at work—poverty, high housing costs, family violence, mental health disorders and addiction.
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In Toronto, five Salvation Army shelters—Maxwell Meighen Centre, Hope Shelter, Gateway, Florence Booth House and Evangeline Residence—offer an open door, welcome and support to people in crisis. Recently integrated under Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports, these shelters meet basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, as well as provide pastoral care, addictions counselling and housing help.
“We are moving from services that are grounded in an emergency response to an integrated approach to housing stability,” says Bradley Harris, executive director, Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports. “We want to help people find—and keep—permanent housing. That means offering programs that will work for each person who turns to The Salvation Army for assistance. There is no 'one size fits all' solution.” Life skills, health care, outreach, art and game nights, sports events and a drop-in program all build community and help people reach their goals.
“When people come through our doors, we want our staff to treat them as human beings created in the image of God—as equals,” says Dion Oxford, director of mission integration for the shelters. “It's not a handout or a hand up. We want to hold out our flawed hands and offer to walk through this thing called life together.”
Toronto Snapshots of Ministry Slideshow
Click thumbnails to view photos.