Q: If you work in Toronto, you probably see people who are desperately in need of basic things… food, clothing, shelter, healthcare. Why are there so many homeless people in Toronto?
At Fred Victor, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. But anyone who knows anything about big city housing costs, income supports, and available mental health supports in Ontario, will tell you that some of the answers lie there.
Fred Victor has responded to the crisis need for shelter and housing in our City.
We opened our Women’s Hostel in 1997 in response to the sudden influx of homeless women in the downtown core. We built permanent housing for singles, couples and families and opened at Dawes Road in 2007. Mortimer Avenue Housing also for singles, couples and families was transferred to Fred Victor in 2005. The 60-bed Bethlehem United Shelter on Caledonia Road was opened in 2008.
The main site at 145 Queen Street, the corner of Queen and Jarvis Streets, became permanent housing for low-income and homeless men in 1986. Today, this is home for men and women who have spent years living rough outdoors, in City shelters, in unhealthy substandard accommodation or in a correctional or health institution.
Alex was happy to find permanent housing through Fred Victor’s housing access support services.
I once had a good life and a good job. But when my wife died, my life took a downward spiral and, after losing everything, I spent a few years living in shelters and under the front stairs of a Yonge Street restaurant. Six years ago, I moved to Fred Victor Housing at Queen and Jarvis, which is where I met Kevin Nixon, a housing worker.
Regardless of where I’ve been living the last several years, I have always spent my days on my bench in Yorkville, making friends by hustling jokes.
Everyone knows me and I’m comfortable there. So, when Kevin asked me if I wanted to move into my own place, I was wary because I didn’t want to end up living too far from my bench. But a few weeks later, Kevin came looking for me on my bench with news that he had found the perfect place – a bachelor apartment near Kensington Market. My first thought when I saw it was that it looked like a palace.
I had nothing when Kevin met me. He helped me apply for my identification cards, open a bank account, sign the lease and furnish my new place. I like being on my own – I have even bought myself a little TV and stereo.