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April 30, 2009
New transitional shelter opens to help Aboriginal men and youth
Members of Toronto’s Aboriginal community, politicians, clients and guests gathered today at 26 Vaughan Road for a smudging ceremony to celebrate the official opening of Sagatay (a new beginning), a transitional shelter developed and operated by Native Men’s Residence (Na-Me-Res). In partnership with the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto, Na-Me-Res has created a 22-bed residence for formerly homeless Aboriginal men and youth who will embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-determination and self-sufficiency.

“Our Government is supporting many Canadians with housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Through this investment, Na-Me-Res will be able to offer Aboriginal men and male youth the support they need to achieve self-sufficiency and full participation in their community.”

The Government of Canada provided the City of Toronto with $2,565,000 under the Homelessness Partnering Strategy for this project.

“City Council and I are committed to ending street homelessness among Aboriginal people in Toronto,” said Mayor David Miller. “By directing a portion of HPI funding to the Aboriginal community, we are able to partner with organizations such as Native Men’s Residence to fund innovative housing projects that meet the unique needs of the Aboriginal community in Toronto.”

After conducting a review of its programs and services, consulting with community members, and considering new and emerging approaches to client care, Na-Me-Res decided to convert its former Tumivut Youth Emergency Shelter into Sagatay, a 22-bed transitional shelter for Aboriginal men and male youth.

“Unfortunately, many of our people live their lives on the streets,” says Harvey Manning, executive director, Na-Me-Res. “This new facility and programming will facilitate change by building skills and self-esteem that is a necessary step on the long road to a sustainable lifestyle incorporating traditional family values.”

Located on Vaughan Road - an ancient Aboriginal trail - the new facility incorporates many circular elements in the design. The circle is very important in Aboriginal culture signifying never-ending life. Traditionally, Aboriginal spiritually believes that no one ever dies, but lives on in a different way or form. The design of the canoe-like canopy on the main floor is on an East - West axis: East being born or reborn and the journey one takes to the West is a continuation to another form, like the circle that never ends.

All 18 units in the transitional shelter have a private washroom and are wheelchair accessible. Four of the units are double occupancy and 14 are for single occupancy. The building, owned by Na-Me-Res, also contains office space for administration and case management.

Clients will begin moving in over the next few weeks.

The Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to more than 60 communities across Canada. The HPS took effect April 1, 2007, with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years. Funding for housing and homelessness programs has been extended for another five years, until March 31, 2014.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Na-Me-Res provides temporary homes for Aboriginal men and male youth which foster and maintain a healthy sense of community, cooperation and self-worth through the promotion of Traditional Native Culture and Values. We endeavour to build a strong foundation for our clients on their road to recovery and self-sufficiency.

Media Contacts:

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Media Relations Office

Sandra Vaughan
City of Toronto, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration

Vivian MacNeil
Manager Program Development
Native Men’s Residence



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