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“Creating a strong sense of place and home in Parkdale”
Today’s Parkdale is one of sharp contrasts. While more and more middle-class families and individuals move into the neighbourhood, there continues to be a large number of adults living below the poverty line, often in substandard rooming houses and boarding homes. Securing permanent, affordable and decent housing continues to be a major challenge for many PARC members and low-income people across the City of Toronto.
In response to this very real affordable housing crisis, PARC created and now operates 39 units of affordable and supportive housing right here in Parkdale – 10 units on the 3rd floor of the PARC building (1499 Queen Street) and 29 units next door at Edmond Place (194 Dowling Street).
To apply for affordable and supportive housing in the City of Toronto, follow this link to Toronto Mental Health and Addictions Supportive Housing Network:
Since 2000, PARC has provided 10 units of supportive housing on the third floor of 1499 Queen Street West for twelve of our members. Because housing is so much more than just a roof overhead, PARC has one full-time community mental health worker dedicated to supporting and working with these tenants on their personal health and recovery plans. This means working with tenants on issues of physical and mental health, reducing harm around substance use and helping them to navigate systemic barriers of stigma and discrimination.
Recovery is of course a relative term. In many ways it’s the small things that matter and make all the difference when it comes to creating a sense of place and home for the tenants at PARC.
In another time, Edmond Place was the site of a run-down rooming house until a fire left it abandoned and boarded up for nearly a decade.
Then in 2008, PARC set out to transform the derelict building into a renewed heritage property by securing a 50-year lease from the City of Toronto and taking on a $6.5 million mortgage. The rebuild was designed by Hilditch Architects (design impacting society) and home furnishings were built collaboratively by PARC members and local social design group, Public Displays of Affection.
In partnership with Habitat Services and in connection with the City’s Affordable Housing Program, Edmond Place opened its doors to tenants and the neighbourhood in January 2011.
Today, Edmond Place is about people, community and a better place to live. Located at 194 Dowling Street – EP – as it is affectionately known, offers 29 units of supportive and affordable housing for people with lived experience of mental health and substance use issues.
Tenants live independently in self-contained apartments and share a common dining room and lounge. During the days and early evenings a housing support worker is on staff to support tenants with daily living matters, meals service and help them manage personal, health and social issues as they come up. EP’s staff also identify as having some form of lived experience of mental health/addiction, making EP uniquely a peerbased supportive housing initiative.
Edmond Place was named after Edmond Yu, a gentle man who lived in the building before its transformation. Today’s Edmond Place is the kind of place he could have called home.