Government of Canada honours a private citizen’s contributions to address homelessness in Toronto
May 23, 2019 Toronto, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Yet, every day, vulnerable Canadians experience homelessness, or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Today, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, announced the transfer of a property located in Toronto, Ontario, under the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI).
The property located at 212 Epsom Downs Drive, Toronto, Ontario, was bequeathed by Maria Scutti and acquired by the Government of Canada through the SFRPHI. Part of today’s ceremony was marked by unveiling a plaque to honour and recognize Ms. Scutti’s generosity to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable youth in her community by giving them a safe place to call home.
The Government of Canada will transfer the property to Raising the Roof, a not-for-profit organization that provides national leadership on long-term solutions to homelessness through partnership and collaboration with diverse stakeholders, investment in local communities and public education. The “Reside” initiative is a program run by Raising the Roof to create long-term, affordable housing options and pair them with community supports to maintain housing and create tangible long-term solutions to homelessness across Canada. The building will be converted into longer-term and transitional housing for 15- to 24-year-old youth at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
The project will be delivered under the Housing First approach, which focuses on moving people from the street or emergency shelters into permanent housing as rapidly as possible. The supportive housing model put forward includes services such as peer mentoring and rehabilitation programs to help vulnerable individuals not only gain stable housing, but also improve their overall quality of life.
“Today, I am honored and inspired by the actions of a private citizen. Her generosity ensures that organizations like Raising the Roof are able to make a positive impact to reduce and prevent homelessness in their community. Through the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative, our government is able to create safe, secure and affordable housing for the most vulnerable populations.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“We know that collaboration is key to tackling homelessness. Public Services and Procurement Canada was eager to participate in the SFRPHI initiative that saw the generosity of one person translate directly into positive impacts on the lives of many. Every day, our government and its departments strive to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians. By using all the tools at our disposal, we are contributing to the efforts made to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“It’s projects like this that show us that everyone and anyone can play a part in tackling homelessness. By working together, we can give those most vulnerable in our communities a real and fair chance to succeed.”
—Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“It is imperative that anyone in our community experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness should be able to access the help they need. Through the generosity of a private citizen, projects like these are made possible and demonstrate that by working together we can all prevent and reduce homelessness.”
– Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre
“Raising the Roof is grateful for the Government of Canada’s support on our Reside initiative—an initiative that transforms abandoned and vacant properties into affordable homes. With continued support, we believe that we can create long-term, affordable housing and prevent homelessness across Canada.”
– Elisa Traficante, interim CEO of Raising the Roof
- As part of the National Housing Strategy, the Government of Canada announced a total investment of $2.2 billion for homelessness over 10 years, building on Budget 2016 funding of $111.8 million over two years. By 2021–22, this will double annual investments compared to 2015–16.
- Reaching Home launched on April 1, 2019 and replaced the existing Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
- The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative was a funding stream of the previous Homelessness Partnering Strategy, which made surplus federal real properties available to community organizations for $1 to develop projects to house individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative sunsetted on March 31, 2019, and has been replaced by the Federal Lands Initiative led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Public Services and Procurement Canada