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City of Toronto Opens New Shelter at 4117 Lawrence Ave E
RJC Engineers is the prime consultant, construction contract administrator, structural, building envelope and civil engineer for the new shelter at 4117 Lawrence Ave E, part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing strategy to create permanent shelter beds.
This new facility will provide critical emergency shelter and support services to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
“It’s rewarding and gratifying to see our work benefit the community. It is all too easy to lose touch with the humane part of the work that we do and social impact of our contribution to society. We’re so proud of the entire team’s work on this new shelter” says RJC Principal Michael Pond.
Following a Toronto City Council directive in February 2018 to provide 1,000 new permanent shelter beds in Toronto, the City began identifying possible locations. The site at 4117 Lawrence Ave. E. was selected for its proximity to public transit, parks, amenities and community services. Situated in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighbourhood in the Scarborough-Guildwood ward, the shelter represents the arrival of needed services in Scarborough.
“Providing safe, accessible emergency shelter is a key part of our mandate at Shelter, Support and Housing Administration. When a new shelter comes to a neighbourhood, it provides so much more than just a bed. Shelters have staff and programs that are dedicated to helping people move back towards securing housing stability once again. We are grateful to the many people whose hard work has made 4117 Lawrence Ave. E. a possibility, and to Homes First Society for the support they provide to some of our City’s most vulnerable residents,” explains Mary-Anne Bedard, General Manager, Shelter Support and Housing Administration.
The City’s newest shelter will be operated in partnership with Homes First Society, an established service provider with more than 35 years of experience. While this fully accessible, co-ed shelter has a capacity for up to 89 beds, this number has been reduced to 55 beds to operate in accordance with COVID-19 infection, prevention and control measures (IPAC), including physical distancing requirements.
In addition to beds, there is dedicated space for primary care and health care and community space for programming, events, community partnerships, workshops and volunteer engagement. In alignment with the City’s Shelter Design and Technical Guidelines launched in January 2021, the site is pet-friendly and features a commercial kitchen, a dining area and laundry facilities.