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