1635 Dundas Street: Meeting immediate and long-term needs of Durham citizens without a home

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Across Canada—including in Durham Region—we need to find new opportunities for shelter, housing and services for vulnerable, low-income residents. The need is outpacing our ability to provide support.


The Region purchased 1635 Dundas as part of the system of supports across Durham to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Here are some current key details about 1635 Dundas:

  • The former Sunnycrest Nursing Home, now referred to as 1635 Dundas, can support people who are currently living outdoors in Whitby, in ravines and in the area surrounding 1635 Dundas.
  • The Region is responsible for the planning and co-ordination of the Homelessness Support System across Durham Region—as the Service System Manager legislated by the provincial government and the community entity designated by the federal government.
  • At this stage, 1635 Dundas will provide 45 shelter beds to help meet our community’s urgent need ahead of the harsh, cold winter. The site will remain open during the day, allowing people to stay inside and work toward their goals, instead of having to go outside during the day.
  • The shelter will follow established shelter best practices. Wraparound supports at the site will be in place, and the indoor environment allows for a full range of programming.
  • The Region will establish a community liaison committee to help creative a positive path forward.
  • Future use of this building will be shaped through engagement with community members
  • Long term, 1635 Dundas has the potential to offer a transitional and/or supportive housing.
  • There is no intention to create one of the largest emergency shelters in Canada at the site; this is not a best practice.
  • A full list of Frequently Asked Questions—developed based on feedback from community members—is available on this site.

The Region of Durham and Town of Whitby reach agreement for 1635 Dundas Street Project

On November 29, 2023, Durham Region and the Town of Whitby have reached an agreement related to 1635 Dundas Street. This decision will help to ensure collaboration that will allow the project to move forward. The Region purchased 1635 Dundas to help address the urgent need for housing and services. This will become part of the system of services across Durham to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It will help to provide immediate solutions to help individuals and families who need it most.

Read the Council report here and the Full Agreement on the right column of this page.



Community Liaison Committee

The 1635 Dundas Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has officially begun to meet on a monthly basis to share information, identify issues, concerns and mitigation strategies that will assist in a successful integration of this low barrier shelter into the broader community.

Meeting minutes will be posted online after they are approved by the Community Liaison Committee. The meeting minutes for January have been posted to the right hand column under Community Liaison Committee Meeting Minutes.

If community members would like to connect with the CLC, please email CommunityLC@durham.ca.


Have your say!

The Region held a community engagement session to gather input on 1635 Dundas on August 30 and October 3, 2023. These sessions offered the community an opportunity to share their concerns, inquiries and ideas for the site.

If you were unable to attend the in-person community engagement session, share your questions and comments at any time through this project page, see below.

Subscribe to this page to receive updates.

Below is a recording of the Community Engagement Session held on October 3, 2023:




Visit https://www.durham.ca/SupportiveHousingProjects/ to learn more about this Whitby-based site, along with information on the Beaverton Supportive Housing Project and the Oshawa Micro-Homes Pilot Project.

Across Canada—including in Durham Region—we need to find new opportunities for shelter, housing and services for vulnerable, low-income residents. The need is outpacing our ability to provide support.


The Region purchased 1635 Dundas as part of the system of supports across Durham to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Here are some current key details about 1635 Dundas:

  • The former Sunnycrest Nursing Home, now referred to as 1635 Dundas, can support people who are currently living outdoors in Whitby, in ravines and in the area surrounding 1635 Dundas.
  • The Region is responsible for the planning and co-ordination of the Homelessness Support System across Durham Region—as the Service System Manager legislated by the provincial government and the community entity designated by the federal government.
  • At this stage, 1635 Dundas will provide 45 shelter beds to help meet our community’s urgent need ahead of the harsh, cold winter. The site will remain open during the day, allowing people to stay inside and work toward their goals, instead of having to go outside during the day.
  • The shelter will follow established shelter best practices. Wraparound supports at the site will be in place, and the indoor environment allows for a full range of programming.
  • The Region will establish a community liaison committee to help creative a positive path forward.
  • Future use of this building will be shaped through engagement with community members
  • Long term, 1635 Dundas has the potential to offer a transitional and/or supportive housing.
  • There is no intention to create one of the largest emergency shelters in Canada at the site; this is not a best practice.
  • A full list of Frequently Asked Questions—developed based on feedback from community members—is available on this site.

The Region of Durham and Town of Whitby reach agreement for 1635 Dundas Street Project

On November 29, 2023, Durham Region and the Town of Whitby have reached an agreement related to 1635 Dundas Street. This decision will help to ensure collaboration that will allow the project to move forward. The Region purchased 1635 Dundas to help address the urgent need for housing and services. This will become part of the system of services across Durham to support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It will help to provide immediate solutions to help individuals and families who need it most.

Read the Council report here and the Full Agreement on the right column of this page.



Community Liaison Committee

The 1635 Dundas Community Liaison Committee (CLC) has officially begun to meet on a monthly basis to share information, identify issues, concerns and mitigation strategies that will assist in a successful integration of this low barrier shelter into the broader community.

Meeting minutes will be posted online after they are approved by the Community Liaison Committee. The meeting minutes for January have been posted to the right hand column under Community Liaison Committee Meeting Minutes.

If community members would like to connect with the CLC, please email CommunityLC@durham.ca.


Have your say!

The Region held a community engagement session to gather input on 1635 Dundas on August 30 and October 3, 2023. These sessions offered the community an opportunity to share their concerns, inquiries and ideas for the site.

If you were unable to attend the in-person community engagement session, share your questions and comments at any time through this project page, see below.

Subscribe to this page to receive updates.

Below is a recording of the Community Engagement Session held on October 3, 2023:




Visit https://www.durham.ca/SupportiveHousingProjects/ to learn more about this Whitby-based site, along with information on the Beaverton Supportive Housing Project and the Oshawa Micro-Homes Pilot Project.

  • Why is the Region using 1635 Dundas for a shelter?

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    Homelessness is increasing across Durham Region. 1635 Dundas will help address our community’s urgent need by providing 45 shelter beds with wraparound supports. Wraparound supports are services that meet the individual needs of those accessing the shelter. This can include, counselling, financial services and life skills programming.

    The Region has a mandate to help provide shelter and support for vulnerable populations. 1635 Dundas offers several elements to support people experiencing homelessness, at risk of becoming homeless and other vulnerabilities because:

    • It is large so people will not need to leave during the day. They can stay inside and access support.
    • It is already zoned to fit the intended use and is located on a major transit corridor.
    • It has a good foundation to improve quickly for occupancy including:
      1. Toilets, showers and hygiene-related requirements exist.
      2. Has a mix of multipurpose and living space that will allow for safe shelter and housing options with on-site services to support people in meeting their goals.
    • During Phase 1, it offers space for people to sleep and space for services such as health, employment, food security, etc.
    • Longer term, it can offer a co-ordinated and accessible service delivery model that supports people, creates a sense of belonging and meets individual needs.
  • Once the building opens, who can I call to report a non-emergency?

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    For help with homelessness support, you can connect by email: Homelesshelp@Durham.ca
    or by phone by calling 311 and pressing 4 for Homelessness and Housing.

    To report a non-emergency to Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) please call: 905-579-1520 or toll-free 888-579-1520. The non-emergency phone number is to be used when a crime has occurred that requires police, but the crime is not currently in progress, there is no immediate threat to life or property and there are no serious injuries. For examples on when to call the non-emergency phone number please visit DRPS.ca.

  • What will the Community Liaison Committee do?

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    The 1635 Dundas Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meets monthly to share information, identify issues, concerns and mitigation strategies that will assist in a successful integration of this low barrier shelter into the broader community.

    Meeting minutes will be posted online after they are approved by the Community Liaison Committee. For example, the January minutes will be available the week of February 19.

    If community members would like to connect with the CLC, please email CommunityLC@durham.ca.

  • What are wraparound services?

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    Wraparound services are offered by a multidisciplinary team of professionals (e.g. educators, mental health workers, employment counsellors, case coordinators, health care providers) who work with service users to create, implement and monitor a plan of support. A wraparound approach to service delivery is a strengths-based approach to helping people to meet their goals by ensuring accessible supports that meet the individual needs of the service user.

  • What measures are in place for wraparound supports and security for the site and its surrounding area when it becomes operational?

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    The shelter will follow established best practices with community partners that offer health, housing, social, mental health and addiction and life skills building programs. Wraparound services will be in place and the indoor environment will have a full range of programs.

    The security for the site is currently in place and will continue to be in place at all levels required based on use. The Region is an experienced provider and takes safety and security very seriously. The shelter operator employs skilled professionals that supports both emotional and physical safety.

    All citizens accessing the shelter will complete intake and a support service assessment. Safety protocols and policies will be in place. Shelter and security staff are on site 24/7.

    There will be installation of a security system, including cameras and additional lighting, and a 10-foot privacy fence. Access to the shelter will only be at the Highway 2 (Dundas Street) entrance.

  • Will staff be available around the clock to manage emergencies or concerns?

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    Emergency shelter staff are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Policies, procedures and protocols will be in place to ensure supervision and site management aligns with services offered at the site. When services are fully defined, the policies and procedures will be shared. Details such as hours of staff at the building, who to contact in case of question or concern, etc. As with any emergency you witness or experience in the community, please dial 911.

  • What if a person using the shelter has something illegal with them?

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    Service providers develop intake policies for their programs in accordance with the Region’s shelter standards. Intake processes include procedures for searches of belonging and people and don’t allow prohibited items. If an illegal item is found, it is discarded or reported as appropriate.

  • How extensive is the remedial work needed on 1635 Dundas?

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    Phase 1 construction that is currently underway includes partial interior renovations to the first floor to facilitate 45 beds along with necessary ancillary support spaces, site improvements to improve drainage, and perimeter fencing. Interior renovations will ensure common building elements are operating properly for occupancy and fire and life safety systems are brought up to current code requirements.

  • Does the renovation include the removal of mould and asbestos?

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    There are clear protocols and strict regulations for the removal of mould and asbestos since they are found in many buildings across the province. The Region of Durham is working with an environmental consultant to ensure any hazardous materials are identified and abatement is complete by the Region’s contractor in areas being renovated. Any mould or water damage will be removed throughout the renovation. Materials containing asbestos are noted in the walls and select flooring will be removed according to the standard protocol. The Region is following all protocols and regulations, including Ontario Regulation 278/05 (Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations).

  • What is low barrier shelter?

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    Low barrier shelters are not no barrier facilities. Low barrier shelters aim to remove systemic barriers to make the shelter more accessible. It means the most vulnerable community members who face system barriers, have a safe and secure place to sleep and access services. This includes; people with disabilities, seniors, those with pets, people from the 2SLGBTQI+ community, and those experiencing mental health and addiction challenges.

Page last updated: 23 Feb 2024, 10:32 AM