The Red Door Family Shelter has marked another key step in securing its long-term home in the community.
On Wednesday, May 6, Toronto City Council unanimously approved financing to purchase the 20,000-square-foot complex from Harhay Developments that will house a purpose-built, 94-bed shelter within a new seven-storey, 118-unit condominium development at 875 Queen St. E. at Booth Avenue.
“This is one of those big check marks that had to be checked in order for the project to move forward. A big, important step in the process has been achieved,” said Red Door’s Executive Director Bernnitta Hawkins during a recent interview.
“The city has demonstrated that it has done its part in securing the future of the Red Door.”
The financial terms of this purchase, which also includes provisions for a long-term below-market lease to be negotiated with the Red Door, are confidential.
“This is an exceedingly happy, joyous story here on Queen Street,” said Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paul Fletcher during the recent council meeting, noting the planning study for Leslieville includes a special clause that allows consideration for social purposes, like the development that will soon house the Red Door Family Shelter.
Fletcher went on to say while the news is good now, the 106-bed shelter provider, not to mention those in the community, faced the reality it could have been forced to leave its longtime home in Leslieville if an agreement wasn’t reached.
“This has been a very long journey to get to today,” she said.
“There was such an outpouring of support for the Red Door,” she said.
In June 2014, council voted in favour of directing staff to undertake a series of actions to support the shelter in its efforts to be a part of the redevelopment of 875 Queen St. E.
If all goes as planned, construction could begin by the end of 2016. At that point, the shelter will be temporarily relocated to a new home until the project is done in late 2018 or early 2019.
In the meantime, the Red Door must also raise $3 million to outfit it’s future home so it can continue to meet the needs of the homeless families it serves.
The next step is for City Planning to approve Harhay’s development application. A community consultation date has yet to be set. Stay tuned for more details.