TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Citing pressing needs for more and
different space for its work, a favourable real estate market, and a
buyer willing to allow time for a smooth transition, The Yonge Street
Mission (YSM) has decided to sell its namesake property at 381 Yonge
Street in Toronto, just south of Gerrard Street.
The purchaser, a private equity real estate company, has agreed to a
closing date of September 2016, to allow YSM to complete detailed
planning for all its programs, including outreach and support to the
street-involved youth currently served from the Yonge Street location.
The sale price remains undisclosed.
Although just one of six YSM program locations, the 381 Yonge Street
site is the most visible and best known, having been in continuous use
to serve the poor of Toronto since 1904.
For more than a century its programs have changed with the times and the
most pressing needs. In the 1930s, lines formed for blocks down Yonge
Street as YSM served sandwiches and soup to thousands.
During the past three decades, the site has been known as Evergreen, and
focused on youth for whom street life and street culture is the
dominant force in their lives. The location hosts programs focused on
educational completion, employment readiness, housing searches and a
very busy medical clinic.
In a statement Board Chair Judy Hunter said the decision to sell is
shaped by the desire to see YSM do more with the street-involved youth
that are a key priority for the Mission.
"The Board of Directors determined that fulfilling our vision to serve
street-involved youth calls for the sale of the property. We are
committed to doing more, rather than accepting the inherent limitations
of the Yonge Street location," said Ms. Hunter.
"In the past we have regularly been under intense pressure to sell,
whether from authorities with a public planning agenda, or commercial
interests who were not enthusiastic about the presence of our ministry
and people in downtown Toronto" said the board chair. "We resisted
because it wasn't best for our ministry or the people we serve"
"Today, we are ready. We must make the best use we can of all our
resources. The prime driver of the sale is the urgent need to expand
what we do, and respond to the changing needs of the people of our
community. The sale is timely because of market prices, and because of
the effort YSM has invested in recent years into clarifying its mission
and vision - our calling from God."
"Part of that clarity is our unwavering commitment to street-involved
youth. Funds realized from the sale will also help us more intensely
implement the integrated community development model that clearly is
required to maximize our impact among everyone we serve, "said Ms.
CEO Angie Draskovic emphasized the efforts underway in planning for the
future, and ensuring a smooth transition.
"For so many supporters, volunteers and people helped by YSM, the
location symbolizes the spirit of YSM. From within its walls,
compassion has flowed to the streets for generations," said Ms.
"The careers of many people who still serve in the not-for-profit sector
were launched here. A very large portion of our 3,400 volunteers have
given tremendous service within those walls. Year after year lives have
"Fueled by that track record, and the great affection attached to this
ministry space, we are determined that the net result of relinquishing
this cherished location will be greater capacity to serve our youth,
and many others.
"Planning for Evergreen becomes a major stream in our current ministry
planning, as we shape the future of YSM's ministry model, programs,
services, and operations. We have ample time to prepare a smooth
The CEO noted that the needs of the people served by YSM change
constantly, and those needs govern how YSM responds.
"We have already begun a study into the current and projected needs of
people living in poverty, with specific objectives for insight about
those focused on by YSM. We'll be consulting a wide range of
stakeholders as we create our next three-to-five year plan," she said.
"Meanwhile we will continue to offer the Evergreen program out of 381
Yonge Street for three more years. And all our youth, volunteers and
community partners can be confident we will be fully engaged and
present to those in deepest need - including young people - during and
after any transition."
The Yonge Street Mission has worked on the front lines of poverty in
Toronto since 1896, assisting as many people as possible to experience
full participation in society. The hope, healing, and encouragement
that the Mission offers is based solely on individual need, regardless
of colour, culture, economic status, gender, religion, sexual
orientation or social condition. The Mission supports at-risk people
with an intentional focus on nurturing transformation in the lives of
individuals and families living with poverty. We build on our
successful initiatives to draw people from the margins into the
mainstream of stable housing, employment and educational opportunities,
and positive social interaction.
SOURCE: Yonge Street Mission
For further information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with Angie Draskovic, CEO or Judy Hunter, Chair of the Board of The Yonge Street Mission, please contact:
Mission Administrative Office
905-334-6335 or firstname.lastname@example.org