Horizons for Youth was developed by Housing for Youth in the City of York Committee, and through hundreds of volunteer hours by dedicated community members. This Committee was established in 1989 to advocate for and develop emergency housing for youth, as a result of the increased need for a youth shelter in the City of York.
A survey completed by the York Inter-Agency Network in 1989 found that there was at least one young person every day in the City of York who needed emergency housing. From a total of 360 young people identified in 1989, 280 of those young people were 16-20 years of age.
This Committee began developing an emergency housing project in order to provide a safety net for 35 youth per night within their own community. The objective of the project was to help youth get re-established with family, on their own or in some other supportive arrangement while providing them with safe and secure shelter.
The Committee was successful in its mission and evolved into an incorporated charitable organization in 1990, managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Building funds were received from the Ministry of Community and Social Services in 1990, and the building was completed in September of 1994.
With community support, and the hard work of the Board of Directors and staff, Horizons for Youth opened its doors as a shelter in December of 1994. We have been members of the Ontario Association of Youth Hostels and the Youth Shelter Interagency since then, and have received support from the United Way of Greater Toronto since 1997. Located near Caledonia and Eglinton, a High Priority Area as determined by the United Way, youth will find our shelter nestled within a residential community.
Due to demand in the City of Toronto, Horizons for Youth was asked to house 10 more youth per night in 2015. The increase from 35 to 45 youth per night has put a strain on our resources due to the higher number of youth accessing meals, hygiene facilities and supportive programs and services.
For over 23 years, we have worked tirelessly with other community organizations to meet the diverse needs of the approximately 600 youth we support annually.