Programs & Services

Good Shepherd Centre




Good Shepherd Centre opened in 1963 to provide food, shelter and clothing for people in need. Today, the Centre continues to provide the basic necessities of life. It also helps people overcome addictions, access health care and find housing.

Last year, an estimated 16,000 individuals used the services offered by Good Shepherd Ministries. Services are provided 365 days a year by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. All services are provided without distinction and free of charge to anyone in need.





Overnight Shelter




Who can stay at Good Shepherd Centre?

Good Shepherd Centre provides 91 shelter beds for adult men ages 18 and older. Earlier in the day, volunteers help make beds with clean sheets and blankets. Facilities include showers and all overnight guests are provided with towels and toiletries. Last year, the beds operated at 100% capacity. Guests who do not get a bed at the Centre are referred to other shelters. View Facilities





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Food & Clothing





Daily Morning Drop-In

Drop in From

9:00AM - 11:00AM

Each morning, Good Shepherd Centre opens its doors to anyone seeking a snack, a cup of coffee and safe shelter from the elements. A Drop-in Worker welcomes guests and connects people with services both inside and outside of Good Shepherd Centre.

The purpose of this program is to offer a safe place to socialize. It serves as a point of contact to connect people with housing, medical care, and counselling.
View Facilities



Clothing Room

Volunteers distribute men’s clothing from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., five days a week. The clothing room relies on donations of new and gently used items. View Facilities





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Meal Service





Every Day

2:00PM - 4:00PM


In two short years, Good Shepherd Centre has witnessed a 50% increase in the numbers of meals and snacks served each day. Today we are serving more than 1,300, making us the largest free meal program in the City of Toronto.

Meal guests include seniors, people living on disability payments, people earning minimum wage and homeless men and women.



Groups of volunteers – corporate, faith based, community organizations and schools – serve the meal. Experienced staff work behind the scenes, accompanied by volunteers, to prepare balanced meals using donated and purchased food. View Facilities

Meals include soup, a main course, vegetables or salad, bread, dessert and a beverage.





Food Donations

Donations of food are received from companies in the food industry – caterers, wholesalers, meat packagers and grocery retailers.



You can make food donations with confidence. Food donors are protected by Ontario's Donation of Food Act, 1994. This legislation protects those who, in good faith, donate or distribute food.




RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM




Good Shepherd Centre’s Resettlement/Housing Program works one-on-one with homeless men, helping them to find and keep suitable housing. The Program has operated since March 1996. Since establishing itself, the Resettlement Program has grown from one staff member to five.

Resettlement housing workers do much more than just find housing for their clients. They help each client to develop a plan to cope with other problems. Housing workers help clients to access health care, to solve immigration problems, to connect to social assistance, to replace lost ID.



Most clients are placed with private landlords. Resettlement workers keep in touch with landlords so that problems can be fixed at an early stage, before the client finds himself homeless again.

To use the Resettlement Program, clients must be over the age of 18 and be staying overnight at Good Shepherd Centre. Clients who are involved in this program are offered an extended stay while working with housing workers and counsellors.

Interested parties, please contact 416-869-3619 or info@goodshepherd.ca

Dare Program



What does untreated addiction look like?



First, you lose your job. Then you lose your family. And your home. You’re on the street, hating yourself. Possibly turning to crime to pay for your next high. Getting assaulted, getting injured, getting ill. Realizing that your addiction is slowly killing you.


You want out. But even if you get sober and sign up for treatment, you have to wait months. And you need help to stay sober. A safe place to live. Someone who knows what you’re going through. You need it NOW, not months from now.





D.A.R.E.

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Enrichment PROGRAM



The 25-bed DARE Program is a post-detoxification and pre-treatment program that offers homeless men with addictions a safe, supportive place to live while waiting for treatment. DARE provides counselling that prepare clients for residential or out-patient treatment for addictions. The 25 clients live together in a secure dormitory, offering each other support and encouragement.

Clients in DARE receive food, shelter, toiletries and clothing. Transportation costs also are covered so that clients can keep medical appointments. During the day, DARE clients do chores in an effort to give back to the community and learn responsibility. Clients also take part in arts and sports programs. They participate in group and individual counselling and begin to learn how to live life free from substance abuse.

Stable housing is critical to reaching treatment goals, but it is not always part of a treatment program, since the majority of people in treatment are not homeless. DARE clients begin work on a housing plan when they enter the Program. Because DARE is an abstinence-based program, DARE clients sign a contract not to use any mood-altering substances. They consent to random testing.

* In 2013, 127 homeless men successfully entered treatment through the DARE Program.



Medical Clinic



Health Care for Those Most in Need



Locating a medical clinic in the same place where homeless people come for shelter and food makes sense. It makes sense for homeless individuals – no extra walking, and they know staff can help connect them with services that meet the unique needs of the homeless.

The Health Care Co-ordinator, an experienced RN, operates the clinic five days a week. Four times a week, St. Elizabeth nurses provide evening clinics. In partnership with Good Shepherd Ministries, Inner City Health Associates provides enhanced care for clients who suffer from mental illness. AAPRICOT (Addiction Assessment Psychotherapy Referral in the Community of Toronto) provides a similar service with the focus on connecting underserved substance abusers to appropriate services.

Clinic staff deal with a wide range of health problems. Some minor issues like colds, headaches, body and head lice and rashes caused by bed bugs can be treated quickly on site.

However, many health problems common among the homeless – diabetes, hepatitis C, asthma, bronchitis, congestive heart failure, arthritis, mental illness – need more care than the clinic can provide. The Co-ordinator refers clients to other health care providers, arranges transportation to appointments, networks with social workers, housing workers and street nurses.


The Health Care Co-ordinator also organizes a foot-care clinic once a month, helps clients apply for free eye-glasses and arranges affordable dental care.

Providing health care that meets the needs of homeless individuals makes sense for the whole community. Early detection can stop the spread of infectious diseases. Early treatment can keep health problems from turning into severe, chronic conditions that are difficult and expensive to treat.

In a typical week, Good Shepherd Centre's medical clinic receives 66 visits. Some clients need daily care.

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Pastoral Care



Compassion in Action

The Pastoral Care Program at Good Shepherd Ministries is rooted in our Roman Catholic tradition while opening its arms in welcome to persons of all faith traditions and no faith tradition at all.




In summary, the Pastoral Care Program holds with great tenderness "the trouble and the beauty" of each day. It serves clients, staff, volunteers and community members.





The Pastoral Care Program Includes
Several Elements:


it offers care, support, encouragement and love to guests, staff, volunteers and visitors;

it gives voice to the Mission Statement's assertion that each person has the inherent right to be treated with dignity and respect and to live a life free from homelessness;

it offers spiritual guidance, direction and accompaniment to those in need;

it offers visits to the sick, reconciliation in families, presence with the dying and laying the dead to rest in peace and dignity.







it offers educational opportunities to learn about the sources and causes of poverty and homelessness This knowledge challenges all to respond in heart felt and generous ways. These educational experiences are founded in the social teachings of the Church and the Charism of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd. They are tailored to meet the needs of high school students, parish and service groups as well as our professional volunteers.

it offers a variety of prayers services and rituals to celebrate the special liturgical events of the Church year, as well as interfaith gatherings to reflect our multi-faith population and to include the faith traditions represented by our staff, guests and volunteers;