August 17, 2009
Media Release

More shelter spaces now available for families in immediate need

$2.9 million newly-constructed Leeder Place first emergency shelter in Canada to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver designation
NEWMARKET …quot; The Regional Municipality of York, Housing York Inc. and Blue Door Shelters last week celebrated the completion of Leeder Place, a $2.9 million 60-bed emergency family shelter.
 
“Leeder Place plays an important role in the lives of families and our communities,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “This new facility will provide temporary emergency shelter relief to struggling families when they need it the most.”
 
Features of the facility include:
• 15 individual furnished rooms with private four-piece
 bath
• Suite designated for wheelchair accessibility
• Homework room
• Children’s playroom
• Dining room
• Laundry facilities
 
“There are about 112,500 people who live in low-income households in York Region and may be homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor and Chair of Housing York Inc., Brenda Hogg.  “Emergency shelters such as Leeder Place provide stability to individuals and families, helping them keep jobs, go to school and access supports to re-establish long-term housing in the community.”
 
Families that use this emergency shelter also receive assistance with locating permanent housing.  They may also obtain referrals to other critical supports such as addiction, mental health, parenting and anger management.  
 
“We believe the best way to help someone in one of our residences move forward is to provide a safe, positive environment that engenders respect and reinforces dignity,” said Kevin Kennedy, Chair, Board of Directors, Blue Door Shelters.  “The new and expanded Leeder Place will serve as a model for that philosophy and help us to serve a far greater number of York Region families at risk.”
 
In 2006, Housing York Inc., the non-profit housing corporation operated by The Regional Municipality of York, acquired this site to build a much-needed shelter.  In addition, York Region contributed $2.2 million toward construction costs.  The Provincial Developing Opportunities for Ontario Renters program contributed $583,000 to construction costs and the federal Supporting Communities Partnership initiative contributed $118,000.  The Town of East Gwillimbury waived local developmental charges of approximately $15,000.
 
Leeder Place supports York Region and the Town of East Gwillimbury’s commitment to sustainable development.  It was designed and constructed to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  An application has been submitted at the silver level.
 
Leeder Place is the first emergency shelter facility in Canada to apply for LEED certification. 
 
Environmental features of this facility include:
• Recycled content in building materials and construction waste
• Energy efficient light fixtures controlled by occupancy sensors
• Water-saving toilets, faucets and showerheads
• Front-loading washers
• Green housekeeping practices
 
Blue Door Shelters is a not-for-profit registered charitable agency governed by a volunteer board of directors, which also operates the York Region Youth Shelter and Porter Place Men’s Shelter.  In 2008, 105 families were accommodated by the four-bedroom Leeder Place facility.
 
For more information on Blue Doors Shelters, please visit www.bluedoorshelters.ca
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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