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households spend over 50% of their income on rent


Canadians have experienced homelessness over the last five years


Canadian children live in poverty


the annual cost of homelessness on the Canadian economy $


The Gateway

Experience a virtual walk-through of a Salvation Army homeless shelter.


Michael Groh talks about his experience of going from a career in the banking industry to being homeless

Regent Park

Patricia Elkerton takes you inside the world of human sex trafficking in Regent Park.

Maxwell Meighen

A look at what Salvation Army is doing throughout the city.

Homeless Memorial


Dion Oxford

Dion Oxford

Mission Strategist, The Salvation Army

Claire Dunmore

Claire Dunmore

Social Services Consultant, The Salvation Army

Bradley Harris

Bradley Harris

Executive Director, The Salvation Army

Submit Your Question:

The number of children living in poverty is staggering. How do you think their needs are best addressed? As a former teacher, we found that more and more children attended the breakfast for learning at our school every morning but lunchtime was often an issue as well. Do you work together with schools to assist teachers to meet the needs of these children so that they are able to concentrate and learn?

Across Canada there are many Salvation Army Church Community Centers who run children and youth programs to support the challenges of poverty within their immediate community. Reaching out to the community through neighboring schools, the police department and other service providers is a organizational strategy that is widely used to ascertain the needs of the community and how The Salvation Army can be a transforming influence in our community.
We have licensed after-school programs where snacks or meals are provided along with the recreational and educational components. Many of our Church community centers provide free or inexpensive lunches geared for the local high school children and as you mention, this seems to be an increasing need in many communities. Youth programming is wide spread with clubs for sports, homework and music because The Salvation Army's desire is to build relationships in the community, be a good neighbour and help to break the cycle of poverty by working with the whole family and community. - Claire Dunmore


Q & A ... so far

How much $/meal do you request, for the holidays?

Approximately $3.50 per meal or $75 / week in order to feed a shelter resident. - Dion Oxford


How many people use The Salvation Army Shelter's in Toronto?

There are a total of 628 Salvation Army shelter beds in downtown Toronto. - Bradley Harris


How many homeless people are there in Toronto?

There are approx. 4000 occupied shelter beds, 500 in the street and 1000-2000 either in hospitals or couch surfing. - Dion Oxford


What is the Army doing to decrease homelessness?

We're always aiming for two outcomes: getting people housed... and then keeping them housed.  We currently average at housing 400 ppl / year (Toronto-wide).  But what is more important is the followup work through programs like Causeway. - Dion Oxford

What can people do to help with the cause other than donating money?

Give their time. Volunteer at a shelter, food bank or other outreach facility. And not just at Christmas time - this is a year-round issue. - Bradley Harris

How do we inspire those in poverty to get out of poverty? How do we end the generation
cycle of poverty?

Support: in place, early in life. Nutrition: physical, emotional & spiritual. Jobs, meaningful jobs. - Dion Oxford

What should I do to help a homeless person when I pass them on the street?

Make sure they're OK. Do they know what resources are available to them? Calling 311 can be a great way to connect people in need to the services that are available in Toronto - Bradley Harris

Are more men or women homeless?

The ratio of homeless men as compared to woman is about 5:1 - Dion Oxford


People that hold up signs with their situation (e.g. lost job, need rent money, 3 kids to feed, etc), what is your experience with how true they generally are? I try to give them money to help them out, but there is that nagging voice inside that is doubtful of their story and thinks some may be drug addicts and I don't want to feed that habit.

Not to deflect the question but in this situation our focus needs to be more on the act of giving, not on how the gift is received or later used. As to the validity of their signs, sometimes in just comes down to creative marketing "what can I write on this sign that will help me generate money to get the things I need". - Dion Oxford

Is the Army directly working to address any of the issues identified in the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy?

Yes, The Salvation Army has been working closely with other related organizations in an effort to help best make this strategy become a reality. - Bradley Harris