A shelter for homeless families in the city’s east end will soon have a new home thanks to a partnership between the city and a developer.

The Red Door Family Shelter’s future had been in question ever since the building where it was housed at 875 Queen Street East went into receivership last year.

On Monday local councilor Paula Fletcher announced that the city has negotiated a deal with the developer that would incorporate plans for the shelter alongside a new seven-storey condominium tower.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Councillor Paula Fletcher told CP24 at the announcement. “We have a win-win-win. We’re going to put a shelter in a new development. That’s big and that’s new.”

The new agreement will see the developer build the shelter space at cost. The city will then own the shelter and lease it to the Red Door on a long-term basis for a nominal fee. The Red Door will be responsible for furnishing and operating the shelter.

“It’s a great example of the public and private sector working together in partnership to come up with an urban intensification of a site that incorporates not only retail, not only residential, but community services,” said Chris Harhay of Harhay Construction Management, the company developing the site.

“It’s truly a mixed use development in the heart of Leslieville. It’s much needed in terms of intensification in the node and it’s going to greatly improve the streetscape,” Harhay said.

The new shelter would boast 20,000 square feet of space, an expanded size that would mean families would no longer have to share bedrooms and bathrooms.

In order to outfit the new space with furniture and appliances, the Red Door will embark on a $3 million capital campaign, Red Door Executive Director Bernnitta Hawkins said. (Donations to the campaign can be made at reddoorshelter.ca)

Hawkins praised Harhay as a “developer with a heart” and thanked Fletcher for her leadership in working out an arrangement for the shelter. However she said the community itself was the real hero of the story, having launched a large online campaign to save the facility.

“Without the community and the 50,000 supporters we had tweeting and signing the change.org petition, we would not be here today. So it’s a big, big thank you for the tremendous support we have received across the city, particularly within Leslieville.

“Leslieville wanted us to stay on Queen Street and we are. So we are ecstatic. ”

Full details about the arrangement are expected to be unveiled to the city’s executive committee for approval in April.

The Red Door was opened by volunteers in the basement if the Woodgreen United Church in 1982. Since then it has grown to serve some 500 families a year.

An open house will be held at the Ralph Thornton Centre at 765 Queen Street East tonight at 6:30 p.m. so that members of the community can learn more about the deal and ask questions.

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