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City to open new homeless shelter in Scarborough

People moving into the shelter will be from Seaton House, city says
May 9, 2022
Muriel Draaisma

The city is poised to open a new homeless shelter in Scarborough on Monday and its first residents will be from Seaton House in downtown Toronto.

On its website, the city said the new shelter will have 63 beds, all physically distanced, for people 18 and older who identify as men. The new shelter is located at 705 Progress Ave., near Bellamy Road North and Ellesmere Road.

"Initially, the people moving into the new shelter at 705 Progress Ave. will be coming from Seaton House. Eventually, this shelter will become a resource for people experiencing homelessness from the local and broader community," the city said on its website.

The new shelter is part of what the city calls its George Street revitalization project, a plan that involves the closure and redevelopment of the northernmost block of George Street between Dundas Street East and Gerrard Street East.

That block includes the Seaton House men's shelter at 339 George St. and the project involves the building of a new smaller shelter to replace Seaton House.

"This shelter is providing permanent shelter spaces and is not part of the city's COVID-19 response," the city said.

Scarborough shelter to provide supports, city says
According to the city, the new shelter has a commercial kitchen, a communal dining and programming room, meeting spaces, a computer lab, a TV lounge, laundry facilities and a pet washing station. The shelter is pet friendly.

There is artwork created by local artists is in the front, dining and back areas of the building.

The shelter, which will be operated by the city, will provide the following supports:

As part of its response to the pandemic, the city opened shelter hotels and temporary homeless shelter sites to create new shelter spaces. The city said it had to do so to meet provincial health ministry guidelines for physical distancing in congregate living settings and to provide indoor space for people living outside.

This shelter is separate from that response, but the building is owned jointly by the city and the Toronto District School Board. According to a May 2021 TDSB document from its planning and priorities committee, the shelter can occupy the space until Dec. 31, 2023, with an option for renewal for five years.

At a Sept. 9, 2020 community information session for the shelter at 705 Progress Ave., the city said it has developed a Seaton House transition plan to coordinate the relocation of people, programs and services from 339 George St. to alternate locations while the street is redeveloped.

That transition plan, according to the city, includes the relocation of people currently living at Seaton House.

The city had said the shelter at 705 Progress Ave. is one of the five sites to which people from Seaton House are being relocated.

According to the city's Daily Shelter and Overnight Service Usage webpage, a total of 7,799 people used Toronto's shelter system on Thursday, May 5. The city says Toronto runs the largest shelter system in Canada, with 101 shelters.