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2005 04 05
Speculation Seven - A Permanent Home for Furniture Bank
imageimageIn 2003, as a candidate for Mayor of Toronto, David Miller stated, “Nothing is more visible as an indictor of distress in Toronto than the presence of homeless people sleeping on our streets… But homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg of Toronto’s affordable housing problem. Thousands of families struggle to survive with housing costs that are far too high…Housing and homelessness are critical issues facing Toronto…The threat of eviction interrupts children’s education and stress to family life.”
Cited by Michael Shapcott, Social (Subsidized) Housing Cures Homelessness

The Furniture Bank (Charitable No. 8725 1843 RR0001) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to collect and distribute donated furniture to people so they can furnish their first permanent home. Diverting over 200 tonnes of gently used furniture a year from dump sites, in the past four years, the Furniture Bank has furnished approximately 6,000 apartments for over 7,500 adults and 5,000 children. The organization’s clients are referred to the Furniture Bank by more than 150 registered social agencies.

In 2003, the City of Toronto announced plans to redevelop the Furniture Bank’s rented home at 200 Madison Avenue under the “Let’s Build” Affordable Housing Program. As a result, the Furniture Bank began to search for a new location.

The Furniture Bank decided to assemble a team to develop a building the existing site. The new building would integrate the Furniture Bank warehouse with affordable housing. This would allow the organization to own its space and extend Furniture Bank’s activities.
The proposal is to construct a 14,000 square foot warehouse and showroom that will continue to collect, refurbish and redistribute furniture to those in need. Above the warehouse space will be 60 units of affordable housing operated by an experienced supportive housing management team. The project will be a green sustainable building featuring a large rooftop garden, as well as recreational space on each floor to facilitate community building. The Madison Station Café, a community café providing on-the-job training, will be located in the restored old station building. The Furniture Bank warehouse also provides skills training.

The new Furniture Bank will provide employment to homeless and economically disadvantaged individuals, including refugee claimants requiring Canadian work experience. The building’s residents will hold many of these jobs themselves.

While the city has yet to release the Request for Proposal, the Furniture Bank is in the midst of a fundraising campaign for the project. Those interested in donating should contact Penny Lamy, Executive Director, at 416 580 7489 or 416 934 1229 or via email at . Additional information can be found at http://www.furniturebank.org.
[email this story] Posted by Kevin Weiss on 04/05 at 09:01 AM

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