Homeless people in elegant housing, surrounded by luxury custom-made furniture, designed by some of Toronto’s high-end designers and beyond the reach of regular folk. Whether the thought enrages you or engages you, get used to it: Designer homeless shelters are the latest trend in the city.
Whether it’s Edmond Place in Parkdale, the Peter St. shelter in the entertainment district or First Step to Home on Queen Street E., all these architectural successes are part of a broader movement — described in books such as The Power of Pro Bono — to bring good design to those who can’t afford it.
The refurbished Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, scheduled to open next May, will offer temporary housing to patients with addictions issues. It brought in starchitect Bruce Kuwabara to design units that felt like homey hotel rooms. The idea, explains Victor Willis, executive director at Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, is to create a place of unusual beauty to nurture the soul and generate self-respect.