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Luxury homeless shelter opens in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 30, 2010

homeless shelter TorontoToronto's latest luxury hotel homeless shelter opened Thursday night. The much-anticipated Peter St. shelter is now ready for use after 40 long months and $11.5-million. The 40-bed shelter will offer respite services, overnight assistance and outreach programs for the homeless, as well as businesses in the area.

The cost for the shelter, which is located at Richmond and Peter, is more than double the originally estimated price.



J / October 30, 2010 at 01:42 pm
congratulations on the 'stop the gravy train' messaging. looks like you've jumped on the band wagon!
hendrix / October 30, 2010 at 01:49 pm
geez, almost makes a guy wanna become homeless....
Mimi / October 30, 2010 at 01:51 pm
isn't that a bit of tooooo much to able to offer ONLY 40 beds?! Who paid for this? Did we (taxpayers) pay for this???
Imgonnapuke / October 30, 2010 at 01:53 pm
david / October 30, 2010 at 01:58 pm
You can thank councilor Adam Vaughn (sp) for this over bloated
shelter- it is part of his War on clubs/fun in the entertainment district to turn a night club (Fez and others ) into this money pit and Yes we all paid for it
Alex / October 30, 2010 at 02:04 pm
We could stick 40 people in $500/month apartments for 48 YEARS for that kind of money...not to mention not having to spend it all up front...what an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars.
Corey / October 30, 2010 at 02:06 pm
Screw this! I want to be homeless!
Visualhornet / October 30, 2010 at 02:08 pm
Adam Vaughn, is a complete moron, his budget should be cut due to his stupidity. I think they have a rooftop smoking area as well. This comes from the guy who spearheaded the smoking ban in Toronto. What a douche you are Mr.Vaughn
zappa / October 30, 2010 at 02:13 pm
The cost for the shelter, which is located at Richmond and Peter, is more than double the originally estimated price.

gristle / October 30, 2010 at 02:34 pm
People need to stop complaining. Everyone complains about the homeless yet, when this really nice and expensive shelter opens up, people go ballistic. Seriously, have you no empathy? Homeless people have NOTHING, they deserve to have a comfortable, safe refuge in order to help them get back up on their feet. I see it as an investment. Everyone else can suck it.
steveb / October 30, 2010 at 02:35 pm
shut up gristle
gadfly / October 30, 2010 at 02:37 pm
This is why I never trust ANYONE from city hall when they shoot their mouth off about what a project will cost. It's the old 'bait and switch' technique. Pitch the public that a project will cost $X million, knowing damn well it won't, then let it balloon to double, but by that time we are committed, so we have no choice but to pour good money after bad. It's funny how that only works for their pet socialist programs, though. When the Front St extension ballooned from $42M to $110M, isn't it odd that we were told about that before a spade went into the ground, then the project was shelved by Miller and his sycophants.
Councilors like Adam Vaughan have been around long enough to know better. I needed a bath after watching his smarmy remarks on election night about his 'ability' to work with Rob Ford.
Heads up people. This is not the first luxury hotel for the homeless, or downtrodden. Look at all those lovely waterfront palaces at Queen's Quay and Bathurst. Wouldn't we all love to be able to afford to live there? But those people get to live there, right on our tax dime.
ugh / October 30, 2010 at 02:56 pm
This isn't a luxury hotel and there's nothing wrong with opening a homeless shelter in the city. The main issue here is the massive cost overrun.

This would have been a better post if you had focused on that instead of this low brow pandering. Try harder next time, please.
serious / October 30, 2010 at 03:02 pm
totally agree w/ ugh. the cost overrun should be the issue here. a headline with the word luxury in it? lame. i guarentee none of us would trade our apartments for a bed in this shelter. investigate and complain about the cost overrun, dont hate on the homeless.
YayYay / October 30, 2010 at 03:02 pm
I honestly can't wait for Adam Vaughan to be mayor in 4 years. We need more of these shelters.
david / October 30, 2010 at 03:18 pm
I am all For shelters and anything that helps out our fellow human beings but this Boondoggle is a bit much and will hurt future shelter's ability to be funded after the cost over run on this- Vaughan was so into stopping the ability of another Restaurant/Nightclub from opening in that location that he had this rammed through council underestimating the cost by 50%
Matt / October 30, 2010 at 03:41 pm
The cost overrun is ridiculous, but the hate-on for the homeless makes me fucking embarassed and sad to be a Torontonian/Canadian.

It's called transitional housing, jerks, and it's been proven to help the homeless get off the streets and become productive members of society. A bunch of filthy cots jammed into an overcrowded auditorium (or whatever you'd prefer to see as a shelter) wouldn't be nearly as effective.

Simon / October 30, 2010 at 04:00 pm
You should have some pictures of the inside - I would bet it's fairly bleak, and will be much worse after 5 years of use. A huge part of the high costs were a) buying the land and b) putting in an elevator. On a), it's hard to put shelters in the suburbs where land is cheaper because of NIMBYism. On b), almost none of the City's shelters are accessible, and the homeless are disproportionately disabled.

Anyway, really ignorant post.
Linor / October 30, 2010 at 04:03 pm
Thank you, Matt. I was too angry at these comments to put words together, but you said it perfectly.
JJ replying to a comment from Simon / October 30, 2010 at 04:12 pm
I actually don't know if you can even call this a post. It's basically just a troll-baiting link to an article in the Toronto Sun.
T.D. / October 30, 2010 at 04:27 pm
Between this post and the last one, I guess we know which blog will be kissing Ford's ass now...
Geebs / October 30, 2010 at 04:34 pm
BlogTO: Fear monger on the least privileged, much? That's classy.

What's next? A post about a terror mosque going up in downtown TO?
Pat Anderson / October 30, 2010 at 04:44 pm
Thanks, Matt. Your comment is spot-on.
Malcolm / October 30, 2010 at 04:57 pm
If the city had been a tad smarter they could have budgeted it at 20 million and then crowed that it only ended up costing half as much.
Greg replying to a comment from Imgonnapuke / October 30, 2010 at 05:06 pm
I couldn't agree more-disgusting! Who decided to make it orange?
Gravy Train Robber / October 30, 2010 at 05:33 pm
let the homeless eat gravy! or give'm a gravy train to play with at the least!

bang, bang!
scott / October 30, 2010 at 06:18 pm
+1 re: Matt's comments.

The cost of the shelter over its lifetime will save taxpayers more money (millions?) rather than the alternative of leaving them on the streets and costing both their lives and taxpayers money in the form of providing more expensive healthcare.

For some other analysis, check out:

This is a small but vital investment in the city of Toronto for its less fortunate citizens.
jordy / October 30, 2010 at 06:52 pm
I think everyone opposed to this shelter would change their opinions if they had to spend any time off the gravy train they so despise. I think its a great idea, although i sense the club goers aint gonna like it much........oh well.
Bradley Wentworth / October 30, 2010 at 06:54 pm
I second scott's comment. Looking at the cost of this shelter in isolation is absurd - it's not a white elephant because you say it is. What we need to ask is what is the alternative? Here as in any other rich country (USA included) homeless people who need a place to stay and can't find a shelter check in to the emergency departments of our hospitals. ER docs make extremely expensive hotel concierges over time. This shelter will save taxpayers money over time, even if it should have cost less to build.
Jordan / October 30, 2010 at 07:01 pm
How much of that money was in the cost of the land?

Tim replying to a comment from Geebs / October 30, 2010 at 07:05 pm
There's nothing in the post that suggests blogTO's (or the writer's) POV is that the project is not a worthy one. The headline, nor the post itself, is making a judgment. It's simply reporting news that a really nice homeless shelter has opened. Nowhere does the writer argue this is a bad thing.

I personally find the comments arguing that the this project is not a good one for the city to be in poor taste. We should have more projects in Toronto like this one. (but, yeah, it would be nice if they came in on budget)
GoRobFord / October 30, 2010 at 07:23 pm
So what else is new, politicians underestimating costs. If they gave the real cost it wouldn't pass the vote and so would not be started. Just another scam I would bet with inflated invoices paid to friends of insiders, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Canadians are saps who let politicians rob them blind while telling us we are a "World Class City." They have better transit and infrastructure in Malaysia than we do in Toronto and we pay top dollar for union run crap.
choppery / October 30, 2010 at 07:48 pm
Other major expenses or over-expenditures that are therefore "luxury":

- United States continues luxury war in Iraq
- BP oil spill considered most luxurious in history
- Costly lung cancer deaths a "luxury", health minister says

Keep it classy, Blogto.
Tito / October 30, 2010 at 07:51 pm
That's 287,500 per bed. Or the equivalent of forty $1200/month apartments for the next 20 years. We need to support the homeless - no question - but there needs to be better planning and more common sense. Not that I'm expecting that from Rob Ford, but voters can be hopeful if nothing else.
mondayjane / October 30, 2010 at 07:55 pm
Matt's comment is more informative and insightful than the whole snarky post.
Adam / October 30, 2010 at 08:15 pm
Holy hell, first that fluff piece on City Council being stalled, and now this? Didn't take long for BlogTO to jump on the Ford bandwagon. Pathetic.
Tim replying to a comment from Adam / October 30, 2010 at 08:22 pm
What the hell are you talking about Adam?

Choppery - Since when is the word "luxury" a negative? Also, have you even been to the new shelter? I have and it's f'in nice. There's nothing negative nor wrong with the writer using the term luxury.
ugh replying to a comment from Tim / October 30, 2010 at 08:58 pm
I think any objective person can see that 'luxury' is being used in a pejorative sense here. The obnoxious strikeout in the first sentence reinforces it and it draws directly on Ford's 'gravy train' narrative.

This was a shitty post, don't rub it in by insulting the intelligence of your readers.
Tom K / October 30, 2010 at 08:58 pm
I passed by here the other day before reading this article and thought to myself "ah the old fez batik club is now a high-end furniture shop!" nice to know the homeless are living free of charge in such a trendy place while i work hard to afford renting a dumpy old apartment or flat.
bullring / October 30, 2010 at 09:16 pm
Unless you have a terrible mental disorder, there is no reason for you to be homeless and on the streets.

Simon / October 30, 2010 at 09:18 pm
I really encourage Robyn Urback to go spend some time down at Seaton House or Women's Residence.
Tim replying to a comment from ugh / October 30, 2010 at 09:28 pm
I respectfully disagree. I think you just want to complain about something. Luxury refers to the fact that it's (a) nice and (b) expensive. But there is no reason to infer from this that luxury means unnecessary or ill-advised.
J / October 30, 2010 at 09:34 pm
While i hope someone is held responsible for the overrun. Some facts for context:
- Peter St. replaces a shelter on Edward St that was converted to affordable housing
- It has more than just beds, being a referral centre and hosting case management services to get people off the streets
- the original budget of $5.5 mil was grossly understated to begin with (so the overrun should not have been this high)
- Land acquisition cost - $4.7 mil (85% of original budget)
- council requested a rooftop smoking area to expand the sidewalk on Peter - $300,000
- Solar panels & green roof - $700,000
- asbestos removal - $400,000
- elevator - $900,000
Justin / October 30, 2010 at 09:47 pm
Is there another club district on earth that has a designer homeless shelter directly in the center?

I love Toronto.
GoRobFord / October 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm
The homeless "industry" is just another place for connected
"hacks" to collect fat salaries and funnel tax dollars to their buddies. Toronto Housing is trying to sell 12 million dollars worth of houses to a native group for less than half a million dollars after leaving them derelict for years! At the same time the deep thinkers spend almost 12 million for a homeless shelter? How many other empty buildings does the City of Toronto own? Clowns to the left and jokers to the right and the joke is on Toronto taxpayers.
Goldenhawk / October 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
I suppose they could have tried building it out in the suburbs, but oh wait, then the legions of Ford supporters would be up in arms about a bunch of dangerous drug addicts and alcoholics potentially terrorizing their children and driving down property values. Ford himself says he would bend to the wishes of the neighbourhood on just about any issue (homeless shelter, affordable housing, bike lane, etc.). As stated upthread, the alternatives usually end up being hospital beds or prison cells, both of which end up costing far more. I guess we could just buy them all bus tickets to Montreal instead....
electric replying to a comment from Matt / October 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm
Luxury homeless shelter? Really... Somehow I think people have an image of a 5-star hotel room, though this place might feel like it after you spend a winter night on a subway grate covered in filthy sheets and newspaper.

There are 40 beds, I highly doubt there is turn-down service and mints on pillows. The article doesn't state much more, other than there being 40 beds.
choppery replying to a comment from Tim / October 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Tim, I think you're back-pedaling. Calling it a "luxury" homeless shelter does not merely connote "nice" - particularly when it's paired with a sparse note about its overrun cost - and let's not pretend otherwise; it's patronizing to both of us.

Also, the very phrase "luxury homeless shelter" is an oxymoron, and an insensitive one at that. The idea that a capable homeless shelter is "luxurious" is like the idea that welfare is an opulent lifestyle. It belies a fundamental ignorance of what extreme poverty is like, and how a nice chair does not luxury make.
Simon replying to a comment from Justin / October 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm
Shelters could be in areas where land prices are lower, except decades of NIMBYism have meant that services for the homeless are concentrated in the downtown core.
Geebs replying to a comment from Tim / October 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm
Yes - I'm sure a snappy and sarcastic post about a new homeless shelter without any details beyond the "ridiculous" price tag on the building will engender objective and thoughtful discussions.

Without meaning to or not, you've just put a large group of vulnerable people who actually depend on these kinds of facilities on the stake and made them fodder for ridicule and derision. From people who don't give a shit unless it somehow affects a decimal point percentage of their income taxes.

Let's not BS ourselves, and call a spade a spade.
serious replying to a comment from Tim / October 31, 2010 at 01:35 am
continuing to defend the use of luxury in this context is beyond insulting. it is a shame blogto feels the need to ridicule the homeless. it is a travesty that the editor of the site cant admit when a line has been crossed.

me thinks blogto is better at taking other people pictures and reposting them then they are at contributing to political discussion.

i think the 20 reviews of poutine had more substance and useful information than this snarky mini article.
BH / October 31, 2010 at 02:00 am
What a mess. The Street Needs assessment has already determined the number of hard-core homeless to be around 400, hardly an epidemic in Toronto (and something to keep in mind next time you are asked for a handout from the innumeable "homeless"). Vaughn deserves the blame for this white elephant--no wonder downtown politicos and their constituents are so out of touch with the city as a whole.

And for those touting the long-term savings, this expensive hotel does nothing to prevent the eating/drinking/drug habits of the homeless, a far greater health care burden that the just living out on the street and facing the elements. The hard core will just smile and nod at the "outreach" and go back to doing their thing on the streets.
me / October 31, 2010 at 03:33 am

I'm still waiting for the article.
Tim replying to a comment from serious / October 31, 2010 at 08:31 am
We're not going to agree on this obviously. So the last comment I'll make is that I believe the author is fair to use the term luxury as a way to quickly convey that this place is nicer than the average homeless shelter. I would equate it to this Travel Magazine article about "luxury" hostels.

I certainly don't think Travel Magazine is being derogatory toward people who stay in hostels NOR are they suggesting that these hostels are as nice as the Four Seasons. It's just used as a relative term for emphasis.
Adam / October 31, 2010 at 09:06 am
Adam Vaughan is a freeloader
Whee / October 31, 2010 at 09:34 am
4 years of ignorance here we come! Adam Vaughan for mayor next go round!

Frankly, lets build 10 more 'luxury' shelters for the homeless. They bloody deserve it! Jerks.
choppery replying to a comment from Tim / October 31, 2010 at 09:36 am
There's a big difference between suggesting that a traveler is staying at a luxury establishment, and that that city overran it's costs on a "luxurious" homeless shelter. I'm sure that you're aware of this difference, just as it's different to describe a new welfare program as "luxurious" instead of "generous" or "increased funds".

The concept of travelers experiencing luxury is not contentious. The concept of the homeless experiencing luxury certainly is contentious. The contentiousness of the word "luxury" as applied to a service for a homeless people is the whole point.

You know there are lots of folks out there who are going to take this into gravy train "omg my taxpayer dollars" homeless-bashing "they choose to be homeless by continuing to make mistakes and now they live better than I do?!" poverty-dismissive territory, and this post is catering to them, and the ensuing shitstorm. I realize that blogs don't necessarily aspire to great heights, but if you're okay with being the Toronto Sun lite, that's a dealbreaker.

In your position, I understand that you're going to argue that this post had innocent intentions, but refusing to acknowledge the political implications of this post's headline and content - whether you think those implications were intentionally crafted by Blogto or not - is just whack. And insulting.
Dave / October 31, 2010 at 09:52 am
This is a really disgusting article from BlogTO. It's from Robin Urback - who's made a name for herself of bring the Sue-Ann Levy of Ryerson - so I'm not shocked.

The building was full asbestos and other things that needed to be cleaned out. It also is mainly offices, doctors and other services for the area.

Robyn Urback clearly decided it wasn't work fact checking, asking the city councillor or you know... being a journalist.
rapi / October 31, 2010 at 10:10 am
guys, this is not for the homeless at is to keep social services employees salaries going and city contractors busy ...this project also did create some job opportunities that, had they been offered to the homeless, could have solved their housing problem. and the building doesn't look luxury at all, more like a cheap clapboard box
asad / October 31, 2010 at 10:18 am
Adam Vaughn and people like him is whats wrong with Toronto , not Rob Ford
Parker / October 31, 2010 at 10:53 am
Disappointing post - using sarcasm like 'luxury hotel' to describe a new homeless shelter is shameful. I hope the editor's defense doesn't foreshadow an editorial shift to accommodate Rob Ford's Toronto.
gadfly / October 31, 2010 at 11:11 am
$287,500 PER BED??? And the crackhead posters on here see nothing inherently wrong with that? They could have bought 40 'homeless' people pretty decent condos to KEEP for that price.
Doesn't anyone get it that if we keep building these Taj Mahals for the homeless industry, it just encourages them to stay, well, homeless. Why would you look for a job or accept treatment if you knew it meant being forced out of one of these palaces and into some fleabag rental building?
As for NIMBYIsm, Smitherman talked about giving MORE power to the neighborhood committeess. Since Jane Jacobs stench waffed across this city, the empowered NIMBY zealots have effectively stopped any form of progress. When each neighborhood is given its own power, you no longer have a connected city, but an intractible collection of petty fiefdoms.
When are we going to stop feeling sorry for the 'disenfranchised' and start forcing them to be accountable for their own lives? The biggest issue is the layer of sycophants (bureaucrats) who feed off this public trough. You'll never see study come out of those departments that advocate LESS money, will you?
Most of these 'homeless' that I see hanging out in front of those shelters down by Sherbourne/Adelaide are in their mid-30s and quite able-bodied. There's an entire industry sprung up around this scam.
Everything this city touches turns to shit. The MPF scandal cost the city $42M because the douchebag overseers never read the contracts, then the city spent another $11M in lawyers and consultants to 'study' where the money went. Stavros flips the leases on his properties on the eve of Toronto's Expo bid and nobody goes to jail? Skydome ended up costing the taxpayers tens of millions, then Rogers buys it for pocket change.
Really, the people on this site who see absolutely nothing shocking about $250k per bed are either delusional, mathematically challenged, or themselves feeding off the public teat and don't want the truth to get around.
That is what sickens me. The so-called homeless people are only pawns in this disgusting play.
GoRobFord / October 31, 2010 at 09:24 pm
Well said Gadfly:

One can only hope that Rob Ford has the strength and gets the support from all Torontonians to clean out all the scum at City Hall.

At the same time, somebody needs to emerge to do the same at Queens Park and in Ottawa.

How many scandals have to be unearthed where millions, or billions disappear into black holes, with no repercussions, then to see some smiling politician dismiss the matter, then announce that a new tax has to be implemented as the government needs more revenue?

If all levels of government in Canada were being run properly, hiring staff and outside agencies only as needed and at market rates, and without corruption, I would bet Canadians would be taxed at least 20% less and services would improve dramatically.

It is a monumental undertaking to try to root out all the parasites and career criminals who inhabit our governments. They will put up quite a fight as they do feel and exhibit quite freely a sense of entitlement since they have been getting away with this with little opposition for far too long.
Bradley Wentworth replying to a comment from gadfly / October 31, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Gadfly, the $287 500 per bed is a simplistic one-step calculation. As has been pointed out, $4.7 million of the cost was for the land, which belongs to the city and belongs to us. Secondly, there are going to be many other services offered on-site. Do you quote the price of your home or cost of your annual rent PER BED? I should hope not.

Dealing with the extreme end of society leads to some unfair, sometimes counterintuitive solutions; but you cannot ignore that homeless shelters are much cheaper than having the police or emergency services shoulder most of the burden. As I said before, there's no doubt in my mind that this shelter will save the taxpayer money compared to doing nothing.
agentsmith replying to a comment from Bradley Wentworth / November 1, 2010 at 11:44 am
"$4.7 million of the cost was for the land, which belongs to the city and belongs to us."

Umm, obviously it didn't belong to the city if they had to pay $4.7M for it.

What I see as the biggest problem with this place in day-to-day practice is that this is supposed to be "transitional" housing, meaning this is where people stay between being literally on the street and living in one of the city's existing shelters. Except this place is probably about 1000 times nicer than those shelters, so what's to encourage the people to "move up" to housing that are actually shittier?
JR replying to a comment from agentsmith / November 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm
I seriously hope that you chose not to understand, and that you don't actually not understand what he meant.

By purchasing the land, the city now owns the land. Accordingly, that chunk of the shelter cost isn't actually lost, assuming that downtown real estate isn't about to become worthless.

In terms of the article, I have to agree with the many commenters who found this to be in poor taste. Defend all you want, but the tone is extremely divisive.
JR / November 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm
And by the way, this building is not strictly a shelter. Over half of the floor space in the building is for offering services to the homeless, not those in the shelter. So the "OHMYGOD $287,500 PER BED. I SHOULD JUST BECOME HOMELESS AND MOVE IN. LOWER TAXES, BLAH BLAH BLAH" rhetoric should be toned down a little bit. Not that the article above helps much.
agentsmith replying to a comment from JR / November 1, 2010 at 01:19 pm
Sorry, brain-fart.
Smear / November 1, 2010 at 01:31 pm
This article is disgusting in tone and inference.
MIke B / November 4, 2010 at 09:37 am
I remember having an office around that location . Construction started in mid 2007 and they told the locals the work was to be done by the following spring. Too funny.. the 11.5 million does not include the cost of the land.. it was a derelict building for years...Is it any wonder that people are fed up with government and want fiscal responsibility.
scottd / November 6, 2010 at 05:50 pm
A cheap shot Rob Ford style story.
Annie / December 12, 2010 at 02:55 am
Do you people not have sympathy for the homeless.Seems very sad.I buy food for them a few times a week.
gadfly replying to a comment from Annie / December 12, 2010 at 08:03 am
Sorry, Annie - my patience/sympathy wore out 15 or 20 years ago when HALF my paycheck started going to taxes and I see the roads falling apart, subways disgustingly filthy, yet these 'homeless' shelters (and other Cadillac buildings, like the one on Sherbourne, next to 500 Sherbourne) are built so people who are 'downtrodden' can live better than most of us, with their free scooters and free Wheeltrans.
Hey, Annie, I have an idea: why don't you hang out around the 410 Sherbourne walk-in clinic and listen to the way these entitled down and out people treat the nurses and support staff who work there? They growl and snap at them, lunge over the counter, are abusive as hell, and while I sit in the waiting room I get to dwell on the fact that MY TAXES are supporting these people's entire lifestyle.
Build Taj Mahals for the homeless, and it will just attract more and more of them from Wawa, Kincardine and the east coast.
Maybe YOU should hang out with these people a bit. I'd recommend Cawthra park on a Sunday when the needle exchange, er Health Bus, comes around.
Annie / December 13, 2010 at 02:26 am
Hey Gadfly - I admire you expressing your opinions and feelings towards what I said.
I'm from a upper class middle family and feel thankful that I have a job, a good life. It's not always been like that though. I had to work hard as my family came from Italy.I do talk to the homeless and It seems that one problem piled up after another and that is why they are living on the streets.Maybe I am just judging the few homeless people I know.
It's been a year that I've been trying to help a few homeless people. It's all new to me.I am trying to encourage the few homeless people I see around the places I shop at, to get I.D., sleep at a shelter at night during the winter months and to return to family.
When my family came from Italy we lived in a rough area in Toronto, where 80% of the people were on Social Assistance. I couldn't believe it!!!!!!!!!!! The whole family... Grandparents, Parents and Children once they reached age of majority. How I hated that area. I felt that they were a bigger problem than the homeless because these people were capable of working.The neighbourhood I had lived in was disgusting. The people were like the people you describe at the walk-in clinic at 410 Sherbourne. The only difference they were not homeless. You are recommending Cawthra Park on a Sunday... would not see me dead there.In fact my family lived not far from the Sherbourne area. A five minute bus ride.We lived in the Broadview area.
Let me recommend that you talk to a homeless person and find out how they got on the streets.
Annie / December 13, 2010 at 02:39 am
Hey Gadfly - Oops!!! Forgot to mention. Did it ever occur to you that most of these homeless people would die if there were no shelters?
Krystol / January 28, 2011 at 11:07 am
Sometimes all people need is a little dignity to get back on their feet. Most homeless shelters are violent, dirty, and dangerous places that belong in centuries gone by. It's nice to see our treatment of the less fortunate and destitute finally evolve into something more civilized.

After all who chooses to be homeless?

It can happen to anyone.
Matt replying to a comment from gadfly / February 16, 2011 at 08:12 am
"Look at all those lovely waterfront palaces at Queen's Quay and Bathurst. Wouldn't we all love to be able to afford to live there? But those people get to live there, right on our tax dime."

What the hell are you talking about?

There are nice condos there, not subsidized. There is some co-op housing in the area (not all rental units in the area are co-op units) and those places are decades old and not buildings where people live rent free.
Good Enough / August 8, 2011 at 01:26 pm
I would never make a negative comment about a new homeless shelter.

A lot of people are a paycheck or two away from one and to put people in some understaffed crumbling building that YOU wouldn’t want to stay is a crime. People need shelter but they also need to reclaim some of the dignity that they have lost because of being homeless. If you have a problem with homeless shelters try living in one for a while or better yet walk around the streets for a few weeks with no cash, no ID, and no shelter, then you can come back to me and tell me why we don’t need new shelters in building that are designed for it. You can tell me that it’s alright with you to sleep in a place that you wouldn’t even walk in.

If you want to do something about the homeless population then I suggest that you get the city, provincial and federal governments to start working out affordable housing for all of its citizens a shelter is a band aid at best, what is really needed is real housing.

It’s not the fault of the people who live on the streets that the people who built this shelter ran up the price, once again look at the system I am sure that the homeless never got a cut of the cost overrun.
T / February 22, 2012 at 10:35 am
I must tell all of you I am homeless. The only reason I am on internet is i am at Libraries most of time and still look presentable enough and have dignity left that I fit in and don't look like a "derelict"...However allot of my fellow homeless persons are not allowed into many public places and I don't blame the places for not letting them in. They smell,dress badly and simply have just given up completely on life. I don't know why they slid so far down the rabbit whole, but they are lost in their pain and guilt of what they have done to their lives, thier loved ones and themselves that addiction has now fully consumed them.
I feel they are beyond reach, however they were all once someones child, mother, friend..............
God forbid anyone of you should lose a loved one to a derelict life....It's like they died but are not dead yet they are not alive either.

As for the luxury shelter...I avoid this place like the plague.
It smells, drug use and prostitution is rampid, you have to literally chain your belongings to you....I would rather rent a room at a sleazy motel but the only ones I can afford are full of bedbugs (and I am not exaggerating) so I have chose to stay on street. Without the many resources in Toronto to do my Laundry and shower and have call backs for job searching I don't know what I would be like...Probably dirty and stinky and aweful and just wanting to be on something to forget my I thank Toronto and all you tax payers for helping me keep what self-esteem and dignity I have left.

I pray this never happens to any one of you becuase once your in in it is so hard to get out and I am not even sure why anymore.....I never imagined this would be my life and I am sorry to be a drain on society...I hope some day I will be able to walk with my head held high again.
MrsPotato / February 22, 2012 at 10:48 am
@T: Thank you for your insight.

Thank you.
Erin / April 19, 2012 at 05:58 pm
I find it hard to sympathize with those who chose to be homeless or chose to start using drugs that eventually made them homeless. I do not sympathize with people who have no plans on ever paying rent and who bounce from one shelter to the next or one park bench to the next in better weather, beg for money and make more than people who actually work, don't pay taxes, get social assistance to help them buy drugs and mooch food from soup kitchens. Some homeless people may be mentally ill and others may be fleeing from abuse, but the others are there because they made the wrong choices. Handouts do not help people better themselves. A kick in the pants and hard work, which they can be proud of, are warranted for some. And I am writing from experience.
Public enemy / May 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Is everyone comfortable complaining while it's raining or snowing,I have experienced frost bite while others are siping a hot beverage watching channel zero on the ediot box.Lets give our elected officials a suggestion box and protest about making that public.Why not befriend a few homeless people some even with children.You that are well off all it takes is one accident that can change your life.If the homeless have it so good why don't we all go live on the street and see who is more creative to find toliet paper and sanitary napkins & explain to your children how to survive on the kindness of others like all of you that found fault with what exist and is built already,and what is really necessary.If we learn by our mistakes let's build the next one cost effective with better policies.A homeless person spent a night at my place because the shelters had no availability waiting for an opening.If your not part of the solution your part of the problem,open your house or your wallets or put your skills in effect to help our neighbors or elected officials so we can be a better country because we can.If you can forget about the change in your pocket buy the misfortunate a meal so that you don't have to say i hope there not suppoting there drug habbit with who's money? me me me me my money. I'm sure we can invent better things in our spare time to create a better system. Lets give better support,build more cost effective projects for the homeless,give less lip service,not hide behind the comfort of our homes being able to wash our behinds anytime we want.Let's take notes of what not to do and do it better the next time.Just because it was not done the way we wanted it done you are not him i am not you what's done is done.Could we get a refund of our tax dollars?The train is already in motion we can build a track that can change it's course,or we can complain again,then protest,..what! no peaceful protest.Just sit there and point a finger.Talk is cheap but change is work ooooh sorry wrong room.
Una / July 7, 2012 at 02:45 am
I was homeless for 8 years. It was getting a room in a transitional housing shelter such as this that saved my life. Once I had housing and was safe from the perils of street life I became clean and sober, quit smoking, found permanent housing, a job and graduated from college with honors. Without transitional housing this would not have been possible.
People complain about the cost but the reward is giving people their lives ,hope and dignity back. We spent much more on crime, criminals and criminal culture but no one complains about that. Stop bullying the homeless and lets deal with the problem.
Una / July 7, 2012 at 02:55 am
Also, the comment that this is luxury is really funny although snide. Just because this building isn't a rundown slum like most shelters doesn't mean its luxurious. Plus living in nice surrounding changes the way people feel about themselves. Thats a psychological fact. I agree with the statment pay now and save money later. Its cheaper to help the homeless than it is to ignore them.
dave / July 7, 2012 at 08:27 pm
Interesting.. hmm i think its some kind of nice idea, but i think that to help a homeless person, they must first be willing to realize that they need help. ultimately we r sending them to hell with a full belly and nice bed. what they need is the gospel of Jesus Christ. "for God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son, that who so ever believes in Him SHALL NOT PERISH, but HAVE ETERNAL LIFE". John 3:16
this is the answer, the word of God.
Natima Lang replying to a comment from Erin / July 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm
Typical neocon bullshit from a typically entitled, smug, self-satisfied neocon Canadian. 'Fuck you, I got mine, you'll just have to wait a while to get yours' 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps', etc. Forgetting that most of the people who say that were middle or upper middle-class who have always had help from somebody higher-up to make it in business ( like Rob Ford) or anybody else middle or upper-class.

The truth? Not everybody gets to be as successful in life; sometimes, people stumble (especially in this society and this country); most of the time, all it takes is one spate of illness, or a lost job, and suddenly, you're homeless or on welfare for a long time. That's what's happened to these people, and that is why they need help and understanding. Not nasty putdowns and platitudes about 'pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps' or any of the other nonsense spewed by you and everybody else.

Funny how Canada prides itself of being a progressive country (Toronto prides itself on being a progressive city), and yet we have more homeless than Oslo, Norway.
justriding replying to a comment from Alex / July 29, 2012 at 07:03 pm
$500.00/month apartments are where?
justriding replying to a comment from asad / July 29, 2012 at 07:05 pm
People who live in a city where there are a lot of unfortunate disadvantaged people and demonstrate little or no compassion for them are what's wrong with this city.
justriding replying to a comment from Bradley Wentworth / July 29, 2012 at 07:11 pm
If the shelter cost had come in at even the cost of an average house, there would be many people complaining. The shelter is not luxury either, by appearances, but seems to be a simple institutional industrial design.

Many people who dislike the shelter want to have comfort and security for themselves, but don't share their needs with the community. The community of homeless people is doubtless populated with many people who may not "belong" there, but it is important to make the effort to house people in a city where affordable public housing is not readily available. After all, wouldn't most people prefer that the indigent population is off the street anyway? Whether homeless people get to sleep in safety thanks to kindness, or because people are playing Not in My Backyard, a new shelter is a good idea.
Misha / November 27, 2012 at 06:31 pm
Cry more aristocratic brats.
MissThea replying to a comment from gristle / December 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm
Thanks, Gristle. I'm totally blind so I don't know what the shelter looks like, and wish I could find a verbal descript. Still, I say, Amen, buddy. I may be homeless very soon, thanks to Canadian bureaucracy, my finances, and disabilities--except ODSP thinks my divorce settlement is too much, even though I only get it in dribs and drabs. As a person with more than one significant disability, if I have to go into one of these places, I want to be safe, thank you. I don't deserve to be screwed just because I'm homeless, through no fault of my own. Thanks, Gristle, for standing up for folks like me.
MissThea replying to a comment from dave / December 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Nothing wrong with the gospel, but even St. Paul said, "Don't say God bless you, keep warm", without giving them the necessities of life." I forget the chapter and verse, but if you know the Bible as well as it sounds like you do, you'll know where it is. Jesus never directed his energies at a person's soul, without feeding their bodies and minds. And for the disabled, he gave healing. Well, we can't do that, but if we all acted more like him, caring for the whole person, then the secular world would have little cause to call Christians hypocrites.
MissThea replying to a comment from justriding / December 28, 2012 at 12:02 am
Damn straight, buddy.I'm glad someone gets that.
haha / December 28, 2012 at 01:19 am
Ah, I suspect I now know where we'll find the 'OCCUPY' Entitled living. Much nicer than living in a park. Haha.
Carly / June 28, 2013 at 03:41 pm
Some people need to stay at homeless shelters to get their lives back on track but to pump so much money into it and only offer 40 beds I ask, why?
Carly replying to a comment from MissThea / June 28, 2013 at 03:46 pm
The gospel is absolutely essential and we must reach out to those who need help and do what we can for them! In fact if more Christians even so much as helped their own in a time of need when they need a place to stay until they can get on their feet or take in people who have no place to go we would not doubt including preaching the gospel we would no doubt be living in a better place.
Carly replying to a comment from justriding / June 28, 2013 at 03:48 pm
Well said!
Carly replying to a comment from Natima Lang / June 28, 2013 at 03:53 pm
Whoa, let's keep the language clean! Otherwise I like what you said and I have had to stay in shelters before when things went rough. That is the way things are for me right now and if you have a minimum-wage job like mine where the hours are not guaranteed then it's rough. I need to find a place to room with other women that is really cheap, until then I need to bunk in a shelter since none of my friends can take me in. I know how it is.
Carly / June 28, 2013 at 03:58 pm
Sorry to hear about your situation. I'm looking at staying in a shelter right now and have had to do it before. This Bible verse totally comes to mind right now: Pro 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
Jenny / August 2, 2013 at 09:35 pm
I think it was silly to built a homeless shelter in this location:
- property cost is high
- nightclubs: some homeless are struggling to overcome their addictions

It really should have been a place up in the suburbs, there are lots of lands up near Steeles where there won't be any established neighbourhoods to get up in arms about a shelter (something I don't entirely blame them for, because homeless people needs help, but some of them are violent).

Lots of green fields and parks up near Steeles too, the problem is isolation from city core services, but that could be amended with bus passes, and there are a lot of new businesses springing up that may be willing to hire those who are homeless AND unemployed if they have agency backing and subsidy.

j / September 13, 2013 at 02:41 pm
it not only for the homeless shelters are for its for abuse woman and men .some people are so backward what do they rather begin abuse or find refuge . I am in a situation my self with two kids things do happen so am happy about the homeless shelter they built.
Me replying to a comment from j / September 13, 2013 at 03:38 pm
Can you rewrite this in English so we can figure out what the Hell you just said?
daniel / September 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm
u people heartless. you think homeless want to be without a job and shelter. i think your parents did a horribe job of raising you all. really u want to be homeless.... yea im sure u do you piece of garbage. you know what im going to be sleeping there in a week, till i find a job. sometimes good people need a break. and i thank Adam Vaughan i have a place to sleep for a few weeks. im sure ill meet Adam on the stairway to heaven, you people wont. most homeless have mental issues will never find a work. If you people were smart you would know that. difference between homeless and lazy punks.
daniel replying to a comment from hendrix / September 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm
u people heartless. you think homeless want to be without a job and shelter. i think your parents did a horribe job of raising you all. really u want to be homeless.... yea im sure u do you piece of garbage. you know what im going to be sleeping there in a week, till i find a job. sometimes good people need a break. and i thank Adam Vaughan i have a place to sleep for a few weeks. im sure ill meet Adam on the stairway to heaven, you people wont. most homeless have mental issues will never find a work. If you people were smart you would know that. difference between homeless and lazy punks
daniel replying to a comment from gristle / September 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm
nice 2 see there a few good people left
Alegna / November 24, 2013 at 05:10 pm
I can see that you don't all know what it is like being homeless. This is an experience of a university grad with two to four diplomas and numerous certificates and I can tell you that when someone who thinks that they have too much clout with a military machine that they hook up to bugged bodies decides that they are jealous and don't want you to work or have friends and family so wherever you go they tell people lies and send people around you to put gas smoultering things around you or anyone who loves you including your pets. Its been almost a decade and that is ten years and since as an infant that some guy didn't want me to have money or be successful so my parents wouldn't know I got stolen and he even changed my hairclor from blond to brown all over my body so my people would recognize me and it took a military program to do it but I beat all odds and didn't stay stupid without an education but I couldn't get the job that I wanted but I got work for a short time here and a short time there from cleaning toilets to being a law clerk until I couldn't stay at one job for more than two months because the computer program would find me and hurt me at work and all the hurt caused a permanent spinal disability. The disgusting part about being homeless is that I shouldn't be and the other disgusting part is that I shouldn't be and its the lax military secrecy that has caused me ti look like a tramp when I have to go from one place to another so I don't get hurt and the other disgusting part is that they will hurt an innocent animal so that noone loves you. When the good lord calls me what kind of life will have I lived in the end and all those devils living off my fathers estates will have lived high on the hog and I have been hanging on for dear life for awhile now. Now can you say that homelessness is disgusting? And perhaps they can take the cost of this hotel from all our inheritences because am sure I am not the only one its happened to and we all have had relatives and fathers and mothers and a lot of us have had estates that are really wealthy but can't get even a room in 800 houses that our father owns that is Twenty Million Dollars worth of real estate and maybe I can have one room in this place for just a little while and then maybe there will be another place after this one.
Me replying to a comment from Alegna / November 24, 2013 at 08:16 pm
You claim to be a University Grad and yet your comment is written in complete gibberish. Somehow I suspect if this is how badly you write there may be good reason you're homeless. Oh, and I still don't care. I been on the street, and unlike losers like you got back off without making excuses or blaming someone else, OR whining for handouts.
2014 シューズ / January 7, 2014 at 08:13 pm
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Niktzv / June 14, 2014 at 04:44 am
This article was obviously written by a deeply partisan person to pander to the lowest common denominator. sad to see how effective it is.
norman / November 13, 2014 at 02:33 pm
This shelter is the reason im safe and off the streets.

I became homless. Day 1 the fine folks of this shelter found me a safe residents shelter. Tge bedt in toronto for me. Not only did they find me a shelter. They fast tracked my file and i was admitted to safe clean shelter for men.

If it wasn't for this facility. Id be at one of many shelters. Afraid. Have my belongings stolen and have to sleep with one eye open.

Homeless_Educated / May 26, 2015 at 08:04 pm
It is disgusting the ignorance, but why bother writing. I am sure this board isn't representative of the fair-minded public.
I am a university educated, teacher, former CEO of and education company and speak 3 languages. I find myself presently among those you would characterise as vermin. Walk a mile in their shoes. I will be volunteering at the place where Non/God God forbid some of those with such arrogance end up. Everyone deserves not just a hand up but a place in society; that is our job. Our families are not islands, we must take care of everyone.
Roopy replying to a comment from Homeless_Educated / August 25, 2015 at 04:11 pm
I agree with you. I am a university student (well.. not ATM, but wanting to go back ASAP) and I am looking for a job as well as a place to live, but I find it too hard to get a job right now while I'm on the streets, and it is excruciatingly painful the amount of stigma there is on people who are on welfare or who have left their old accomodations to start a fresher newer life. I am just contacting york university now because apparently they have a homelessness hub where they help people. I am wanting to contact this shelter though because my shelter is horrifying and awful, and I am stressed and tired of it. but I don't understand this place. Can anybody explain? I called them and they said they were NOT a shelter but only a referral center, and I asked them for help with housing, and they told me that they don't provide housing services if you are living a shelter or are not in their area or something. I'm frickin confused can anybody help me??????
Roopy replying to a comment from Homeless_Educated / August 25, 2015 at 04:11 pm
I don't understand this place. Can anybody explain? I called them and they said they were NOT a shelter but only a referral center, and I asked them for help with housing, and they told me that they don't provide housing services if you are living a shelter or are not in their area or something. I'm frickin confused can anybody help me??????
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