Community Engagement

Homes First has a long history of supporting its tenants to engage with each other, with the organization and the broader community.  We believe in developing and maintaining cooperative relationships and making sure tenants have the opportunity to contribute to decision making in the organization. 

The transition from the streets to living in a house, often with several others, is seldom easy.   Informal gatherings such as a movie night or a group meal go far in building understanding, trust and independent living skills.  We support tenant councils to talk about important issues at their home. Staff and tenants work together to build inclusive supportive environments.

Earth WeekEarth Week

Becoming an active member in your community can be daunting while living in a shelter.  During Earth Week residents take part in a series of activities in order to learn about and foster pride in their environment.  The week concludes with an Earth Day cleanup.  Staff and residents team together to clean up surrounding parks, then invite neighbours and volunteers to a barbeque.  The program builds confidence and motivates residents to get involved in their community.

We look forward to next year’s community cleanup and invite you to join.





Fashion ShowFashion Show

The Fashion Show at Strachan House promotes self-confidence and creativity, with an emphasis on personal flare rather than price tag.  Residents, staff and community members come together for an evening of food, fun and entertainment.  Residents have the chance to express themselves and show you don’t need a lot of money to have fun with fashion.

This year’s fashion show was held on Nov. 25th 2015. Pictures will be up soon!




Winter SolsticeWinter Solstice

During winter solstice, the Homes First community participates in Kensington Market’s Festival of Lights.  Residents, staff and volunteers gather at Bellevue House to carry their homemade lanterns and march in the parade.  Afterwards, families join the group for hot chocolate and snacks.  This annual event inspires creativity and encourages community involvement. 

We invite you to join or donate supplies for the lanterns.






Type 2 Diabetes Awareness Program

The type 2 Diabetes awareness program program started in October 2013. Residents interested in the program received a three-day training on what type 2 diabetes is, how to run a workshop and other practical skills, like how to prepare a healthy meal. The goal of this peer-to-peer program is to prevent type 2 diabetes, a serious chronic disease that cripples the low-income and homeless populations in Toronto. The peer leaders then go to our other sites and lead five workshops to help spread awareness about this disease. 

To read their account click here



Peer-led Film Project - Between the Lines: A Drug User's Persepctive

Homes First residents came together to create a documentary investigating some of the most pressing problems that Toronto's marginalized drug users face. In their own words, they talk about the factors that contribute to their substance use including stigma, poverty and homelessness. They explore how Harm Reduction helps them to address these problems and gives them hope for the future.

This film took a year to create and we are deeply appreciative to Toronto Public Health for funding this peer-led project. 

Watch Between the Lines: A Drug User's Perspective film here. 

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