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Evergreen Centre Plans to Cut Drop-In Programming

The centre would be the latest in a string of drop-in closures.

Photo by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/st-even/2664946373/in/photostream/"}St-Even{/a}, from the {a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/"}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Evergreen Centre, a prominent downtown drop-in space that serves homeless and disadvantaged youth between the ages of 16 and 24, is planning to terminate the majority of its drop-in programming in early June. Evergreen would be the third local youth drop-in space to close its doors in the past year: Dufferin Mall Youth Services closed last June, and Youthlink Inner City ended programming in March.

Prince Charles visited Yonge Street Mission, the parent organization of Evergreen Centre, earlier this week as part of his “Seeing is Believing” charity tour. His Royal Highness marked the occasion by awarding Evergreen program director Andrew Williams with a Diamond Jubilee Award for his charitable work with marginalized populations.

Drop-in centres provide basic services like food and showers, and serve as hubs where service providers—like nurses, legal clinics, and mental health workers—can meet with clients.

While Evergreen still plans to serve meals and accommodate scheduled appointments, the informal drop-in programming that, in the centre’s own words, provides “a safe, peaceful place where [young people] can rest for the day, receive care, pursue their dreams and get the hope and encouragement they need to move beyond the harsh realities of their current lifestyle,” would, under the proposed plan, come to an end on June 4.

Organizations that provide youth drop-in services in the downtown core have been moving to more structured and scheduled programs of late. Many young people and community advocates have argued that drop-ins provide an entry point for youth who need safe space and connections to other services.

Evergreen staff will host a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed changes on Monday, May 28 at 1 p.m.

Comments

  • Janesmith2003

    That’s a photo of the 519 not Evergreen. Sadly, there were other homeless youth serving agencies that closed their doors in recent times. SOS, Shout Clinic and Youthlink Innercity are no longer. All these agencies provided important drop in services to homeless/at risk youth, sad days.

  • Anonymous

    It’s unclear from the linked articles, but is any of this related to the budget cuts?

  • http://twitter.com/causalitybrunch Kristin Whiteley

    What’s behind this closure? Funding cuts or redirecting funding? Would they keep it open with more funding?

    • Desmond Cole

      It’s not clear why Evergreen is being cut. The town hall meeting on Monday (which we’ll cover) is scheduled a mere week before the proposed closure, and little information has come out. But we’ll be examining the cause of this trend in a future article, so stay tuned.

  • Xinom_w

    DMYS is still open I believe. Also, YMCA is running a drop in program in the old Youthlink space. Still very concerning but thought I’d share this info.

  • Anonymous

    I suspect this is less related to funding then to the expectations placed with the funding. Both the province and the feds have recently pushed for measurable targets in all their programming, with a focus on seeing people moving forward to another step. (i.e. employment, training, housing). And both have been reducing funding for anything smacking of activity without results.

    Drop ins don’t easily meet those metrics.

    Its wrong headed thinking on the funders part.

    • Anonymous

      Ugh, frustrating. Drop-ins are hard to measure, but clearly meet targets.

  • Lund519

    A few points here: I’ve worked and volunteered with a wide variety of services for less fortunate. What’s disturbing me lately is when I see faith-based missions offering services, but with strings attached: no bible study, no shelter. No church service, no meal. It’s an old control trick, and it’s back again. Mental health issues such as depression/addiction, etc are not the same as physical – meaning the turnaround time to ‘get these people up & running’ isn’t going to be in a specific, quick time frame. Relapse – ESPECIALLY under age 40 – is very common.

    Lastly, it must be restated that Toronto can not be the go-to place to ‘start over’ or ‘find yourself’ after a crisis. With ‘bargain’ bachelor units downtown at $800+, there’s just no way someone already struggling can afford that. Toronto Housing has a 3-6 year wait list. Other mid-sized cities with some opportunities, entry-level jobs and affordable housing are going to have to step up. Toronto is rapidly becoming home to the affluent and very affluent, without much wiggle room for anyone else (unless you have a car, and can live an hour away).

  • Scenariomusic

    I am a youth that has used Evergreen in the past 3years and it has been grat and to close it down would be a shame where would the youth go for a place to feel safe

  • Jon Brandt

    Desmond, will you write a correction and/or update to this story?