St. Christopher House
Our Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles
St. Christopher House will work in partnership with the community to promote personal and social change in order to achieve a safe, healthy and accepting society for all. To this end, we will work with our resources and the strengths of the community.
St. Christopher House has, as its central purpose, the enabling of less advantaged individuals, families and groups in the community to gain greater control over their lives and within their community.
- Build bridges within and across communities
- Promote access to full participation in society by addressing barriers like illiteracy, inadequate incomes, unaffordable housing, and discrimination of all types
- Assist people to meet individual and family needs
- Provide the tools and opportunities for people to control their own lives and to take on leadership in the community
- Advocate for changes in social systems that will ensure dignity, quality of life, and equal opportunities for all.
St. Christopher House values the dignity of each individual and the responsibility of each of us to care for others.
The conditions that contribute to dignity include:
- a useful and valued place in society
- an adequate and stable income that provides for basic needs
- adequate and affordable choices for housing
- a positive appreciation of the importance of diversity (individually and in terms of groups) to our community life.
St Christopher House actions to attain its vision include:
- reaching diverse community members
- motivating and engaging community involvement
- transmitting the House's values
- participatory research and analysis
- providing organizing opportunities for community involvement
- celebrating and sustaining community participation
Intro to St. Christopher House
Since it first opened its doors as a settlement house in its original Kensington Market location at 67 Wales Avenue in 1912, St. Christopher House has played a vital role in each community it has served. It was founded by the Presbyterian Church in Canada under the leadership of Sir James Woods.
In the 1940's, St. Christopher House became a participant in the United Community Fund and continues to be a member of the United Way from which it receives a portion of its funding.
It is now a non sectarian social services agency, located in west central Toronto, with a catchment area going from the lakeshore in the south to Bloor Street in the north and from Bathurst Street in the east to Roncesvalles Avenue in the west.
From its various locations in the past to its more recent ones on Queen St. West at Bathurst, on Ossington Avenue at Dundas West, at 1033 King St. West, and on West Lodge Avenue at Queen West in Parkdale, St. Christopher House has been part of the lives and hearts of people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
Successive waves of immigrant families have made downtown Toronto their first stop in Canada and, in the process, have discovered that St. Christopher House is one of their first and best friends.
Our largest facility at 248 Ossington now houses the programs for older adults, people with disabilities and their care givers; the Woman Abuse Program; the Immigrant and Refugee Services Program and some of our Adult Learning Programs; the Programs for Children and Youth; and the Music School.
Employment Programs, additional Adult Learning Programs and our Financial Advocacy and Problem-Solving Programs are located at 1033 King Street West.
The Meeting Place, a drop in for socially isolated adults, is located at 588 Queen Street West. The House's central administration and Community Response Unit are located on the top floor of this facility.
The Parkdale base for the supportive housing program is at 20 West Lodge Avenue, Unit #126. There is also a supportive housing project at Springhurst 1447 King Street West. Parkdale Community Programs, Parkdale YouthSpace and YouthHost programs are located at 1497 Queen St. West, Suite 103.
St. Christopher House is committed to reflecting the changing face of our society. Ours is one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto. People of more than 60 cultures, speaking over 40 languages live within our catchment area. All ages and income levels are represented, with a high number of people living on a low or fixed income. The diversity of our community increases each year. In partnership with our neighbours, St. Christopher House strives to find solutions to problems and current issues and to develop relevant services.