Eva's Initiatives for Homeless Youth

Eva's is an innovative and award-winning organization that operates three unique facilities in Toronto, providing shelter and programs to help homeless and at-risk youth reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives. The three shelters, Eva’s Place, Eva’s Satellite and Eva’s Phoenix engage and support 123 homeless youth (aged 16-24) each night in distinct ways to help youth with transition out of homelessness. Eva's is one of the largest providers of youth-only shelter in Toronto. Eva's was recently chosen as one of Canada’s top ten high-impact charities by Charity Intelligence. Every $1 invested in Eva's has $9 of social benefit for homeless youth. To help put this into context, the average charity has a social return on investment of $2.

A rendering of the new Eva's Phoenix Transitional Housing and Training FacilityOur Impact Why We Exist

Most homeless youth have endured extraordinary circumstances such as violence, illness, abuse, sexual assault, exploitation, drugs, etc. Most are determined to overcome these circumstances. Eva's has a strong 20+ year history of supporting homeless and at-risk youth (ages 16-24) in Toronto. Eva’s  provides immediate, 24-7 support for youth in crisis as well as longer-term programs that help youth to reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives.

In 2015, Eva’s provided emergency shelter and transitional housing for 827 youth experiencing homelessness. Eva’s also provided critical programs to help homeless youth stabilize their livesand build the independence they need in order to leave the streets permanently. In the last yearover 5,000 participants took advantage of our employment training, education support, interviewpreparation, life skills programs, family counseling, and healthcare.

As part of our case management processes, Eva’s staff members work with each youth to develop a personalized action plan that is linked to each youth’s personal circumstances, goals and objectives. This plan, which empowers each young person to achieve their personal and career goals, considers the whole person – mental, physical and aspirational.

“Eva’s stands out because they create a connection with the kids, and they’re actually able to demonstrate the impact they have.”   

Greg Thomson, Research Director, Charity Intelligence Canada

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Inspired by the legacy of Eva Smith, Eva’s strives to keep her vision alive by providing a supportive,diverse and safe environment for the youth we serve. Eva Smith was a community outreach worker and counsellor who knew and understood people in despair, particularly youth. She was a woman of action,determination and persistence. In 1987, she helped to found the North York Emergency Home for Youth. Her work and advocacy resulted in the construction of our first shelter, Eva’s Place, which was named in her honour.

Eva Smith’s mission was to use her skills and her knowledge of how the social services system works to help peoplefind solutions to their problems. As our organization continues to grow and provide innovative approaches to meet the ever-changingneeds of homeless youth, Eva’s and the work we do stands as a proud tribute to her vision andpioneering work with homeless youth.

About our Facilities

Youth have access to the full spectrum of services offered at all three of Eva’s facilities including crisis response, access to mental health and/or addictions supports, access to the Family Reconnect early intervention program for families in crisis, access to recreational activities, mentorships and much more.

As part of our case management processes, Eva’s staff members work with each youth to develop a personalized action plan that is linked to each youth’s personal circumstances, goals and objectives. This plan, which empowers each young person to achieve their personal and career goals, considers the whole person – mental, physical and aspirational.

Eva's closely tracks the progress of each youth with whom we work through a rigorous and formal case management process that begins with a youth's initial contact with us and continues until goals have been reached – and often beyond, through follow-up assessments. Thus, we have had a true measure of our impact on youth.

Eva’s Place

Eva’s Place is a 32-bed emergency shelter. It is home to the Family Reconnect Program which offers proactive, long-term solutions to prevent and reduce homelessness by helping youth re-establish and maintain contact with their families.

Eva’s Satellite

Eva’s Satellite was the first, purpose-built shelter for youth with serious addictions in Canada. It provides emergency shelter for up to 33 youth each night who may have lost their housing or access to other shelters and services due to behavioural problems associated with substance use, and it offers the specialized supports that youth with addiction and mental health issues need.

Eva’s Phoenix

Eva’s Phoenix houses 50 youth for up to one year in townhouse-style units. What sets Eva’s Phoenix apart is its innovative partnership-based employment programs that train and find employment for youth in jobs that offer the potential for a long-term career. This shelter’s focus is on assisting youth to learn the skills they need to secure both sustainable housing and meaningful employment. The facility’s service delivery model – the only of its kind in Canada – arose from a growing awareness that neither emergency housing nor independent housing gave young people the support and skills they needed in order to become permanently and independently housed.

Since its inception, Eva’s Phoenix has won numerous awards and accolades and its programming is urgently needed, highly sought-after, and unique in the City of Toronto. Consequently there is customarily a waiting list for Eva’s Phoenix. A formal intake and assessment process ensures that the youth selected are among those best suited to achieve success. 

“I love the friendliness of the staff here. They are easy to approach but really hard to let go. I am going to miss this placevery much. But I am excited to move to my new place!” - A resident of Eva's

Our Programs How We Do It

Eva's Programs

Our award-winning Family Reconnect Program offers family and individual counselling to at-risk and homeless youth and their families, to help prevent youth from entering the shelter system. All services are aimed at addressing root causes of family struggles including family breakdown, youth and parent conflict, communication difficulties, sibling relationships, drug and alcohol use as well as life and parenting skills. There is no cost for families, and we work with them for as long as needed.

Our Harm Reduction Program offers group and individual counselling, education on safer drug use strategies, and informative workshops to youth who are living with drug and alcohol addiction. Often youth experiencing addiction are also experiencing mental health challenges. We provide the intensive supports needed for youth to overcome both of these concurrent challenges.

Our Training & Employment Program provides homeless and at-risk youth with skills-based, experiential training that can help them access meaningful employment with a future. Training is in fields which are in-demand by industry, and youth are offered the supports they need to look for a job, receive job offers, be successful on-the-job and ultimately use their earnings to build successful and independent lives in the community.

Our Education Program provides intensive, one-on-one support for youth accessing educational opportunities including high school, General Education Diploma (high school equivalency), college, university or job skills training. Often, youth experiencing homelessness have had their paths to education disrupted, and they face unique barriers to accessing school such as not having a safe place to study. This program meets the unique needs of homeless and at-risk youth.

  • According to the Toronto Vital signs Report 2015, "about 10% of youth ages 15-24 in the GTHA, or as many as 83,000 people, were Not in Education, Employment or Training (or NEET, a Statistics Canada category) in 2011." Moreover, the report states that "many groups are over-represented in this category, including racialized and newcomer youth, aboriginal youth, youth living in poverty or in conflict with the law, youth in and leaving care, LGBTQ* youth, and youth with disabilities and special needs." Eva's Training & Employment Program and Education Program specifically address these challenges with these vulnerable populations. 

Our Independent Living Program helps youth learn to access housing by teaching them the skills they need to find a home, such as searching for apartments and negotiating with landlords. The program also helps youth gain the skills they need to maintain stable housing when they leave our shelters. These include house cleaning, cooking, laundry, home maintenance, financial literacy, conflict resolution, self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and healthy relationships.

Our Recreation Program promotes physical activity and engagement in sports, health/wellness and arts/culture. The program provides opportunities for youth to build teamwork skills and provides positive role modelling for healthy relationships.  Recreation contributes significantly in supporting homeless youth to live healthier lifestyles. 

“Over the past 5 weeks I personally have grown to be a more responsible individual. I have learneda lot in terms of my skills and what I have to offer. My time management, interpersonal andcommunication skills have been improved tremendously. The education I have gained will foreverbe useful in my development.” - Youth program participant

What You Can Do

It Takes a Community 

The majority of funding for all of Eva’s programs comes from the private sector – corporations, individuals/private foundations, organizations, with the exception of some government grants when available. There are many ways to get involved: direct donations; holding a fundraiser to benefit Eva's; becoming a work placement partner with our employment training programs; or providing donations of products and/or services to benefit our youth and our organization. 

“I believe in Eva’s because of their ability to not just provide a space for disenfranchised youth, but to empower them. Eva’s provides a respectful environment where youth can develop skills that translate into meaningful employment, which is a gift that leaves a sustainable positive impact on the community.” - A donor to Eva's 

“My family, through our foundation, is very proud to be a long-term partner with Eva’s. Eva’s staff put enormous effort and enthusiasm into supporting homeless youth in their unique circumstances with compassion and empathy, and helping them navigate their personal journeys toward better lives through access to education and employment. We are proud to help make that work possible, and to support the campaign to build the new Eva’s Phoenix and create great opportunities for future homeless youth that way too.” - A donor to Eva's


Alanna Scott, MM, CFRE
Director of Development
416.977.4497 x127
Charitable Number: 132239013RR0001


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