Egale unveils plans to build and operate Canada’s first emergency and transitional housing facility exclusively dedicated to homeless LGBTIQ2S youth.
May 31, 2016 (Toronto, ON) – Today, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (Egale) officially unveiled plans to build Egale Centre, Canada’s first and Toronto’s only facility that will combine the proven counselling services of Egale Youth Outreach with emergency and transitional housing exclusively dedicated to serving homeless LGBTIQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, questioning and Two Spirit) youth. When its doors open, Egale Centre promises to fundamentally transform the support services offered to Toronto’s LGBTIQ2S population.
To help mark this historic occasion, Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale, was joined by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray, Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and an exciting group of project partners, including:
Ed Clark, former President and CEO of TD Bank and co-chair of Egale Centre’s capital contributions campaign;
Glenn Pushelberg, partner at the internationally-celebrated design firm Yabu Pushelberg;
Mitchell Cohen, President of The Daniels Corporation, Canada’s preeminent builder and developer of residential and commercial communities across the GTA;
Paul Dowsett, principal architect at SUSTAINABLE.TO, a leading Canadian full-service sustainable architectural practice; and
Greg Spearn, President and CEO of Toronto Community Housing.
There is a clear and urgent need for a facility exclusively dedicated to homeless LGBTIQ2S youth. Nearly one in four homeless youth in Toronto identify as LGBTIQ2S and, facing homophobia at home, they lack the traditional social supports necessary for the transition from childhood to adulthood. Once on the street, these same youth report being afraid to access mainstream shelters and housing for fear of physical, psychological and sexual violence. In response to these challenges, Egale Centre will be exclusively dedicated to homeless LGBTIQ2S youth.
Egale Centre will further distinguish itself from other shelters by incorporating the proven counselling services of Egale Youth Outreach, which has now been operating for over two years. In April 2014, Egale opened this crisis intervention and housing stabilization program to immediately begin addressing the needs of Toronto’s homeless LGBTIQ2S youth. The lessons learned from Egale Youth Outreach have helped shape the core of Egale Centre’s approach, design and operating plan.
At the unveiling, Mr. Clark revealed that Egale Centre has raised $8.7 million of its $10 million campaign goal. Funds have been contributed by a diverse number of people and organizations who shared the belief that Toronto’s homeless LGBTIQ2S youth require the safety, security and community that will be afforded by Egale Centre.
Egale Centre is expected to open its doors in fall 2017.
“It is tremendously exciting to see so many distinguished voices and organizations coming together in support of Egale Centre. This is a one-of-a-kind project that will fundamentally transform and improve the support services available to LGBTQI2S youth in Toronto. On behalf of Egale, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to all who have contributed toward this important project.”
—Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, Egale Human Rights Trust