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.

  • Will adding a shelter to a Whitby neighborhood bring challenges to the area?

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    The 1635 Dundas facility is on a major transit corridor that allows for people requiring public transit to actively engage in the community­­­—it’s close to food options for groceries, medical clinics and pharmacies, and other general supports that are available to any member of the community.

    In addition to expanding housing options, the shelter spaces meet the demands within Durham’s system. Services such as street outreach teams and coordinated access improvements are also being implemented to address the housing crisis. Seeking appropriate spaces that allow for indoor 24 hour services and sleep space is important to maintaining safety and wellness for service users and community members.

    Research in other cities demonstrates that there will not be an increase in challenges to the area, however, there will be Regional staff on-site to receive information about issues, and the Community Liaison Committee will be able to raise any unanticipated challenges so that they can be addressed.

  • Will there be space for individuals to bring their belongings, cook in, areas to live, etc.?

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    There is capacity for these future uses at this site and all options are being considered.

    The site has a floor plan that will allow for supportive and transitional housing units as the development and retrofits occur in future phases. The initial emergency shelter spaces will not require people to sleep in a dormitory set up. The large rooms available in the building will allow for services such as establishing food security, providing housing-first services, support for employment, ID clinics, counselling and life skills education.

  • Why is this site not offering support to seniors who are struggling?

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    The site will offer safe space to people, including seniors, who are experiencing homelessness.

    Many people accessing shelters are seniors who cannot afford housing and this space will initially offer safe sleep space that is not set up in a large dormitory style.

    This facility requires repairs and updates, and it does not meet space requirements for seniors who need long-term care at a specific level.

  • Why is this site not being converted to a child care centre instead of a shelter?

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    The Region is the provincially designated Consolidated Services System Manager for Early Years and Child Care. Durham’s child care system has expanded significantly over the past ten years. There are currently more than 29,000 spaces in Durham’s Child Care system. Expansion has occurred to ensure there are child care programs across the region. Currently the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) plan is reducing fees for parents and making child care more accessible. CWELCC includes a provincially approved expansion plan.

    This site was acquired by the Region as the Housing and Homelessness system manager to support the housing and homelessness system. We are in a housing and homelessness crisis, 1635 Dundas is part of a system development initiative that includes program and space expansions to meet current demands.

  • You noted public engagement was important. When is this happening?

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    Meaningful, two-way engagement is key. Your input is essential in helping to shape services at 1635 Dundas.

    Community members are invited to share comments or questions on our Your Durham page, at any time.

    Recordings of previous engagement sessions can be found here.

  • How will the Region choose who is staying at this site?

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    Emergency shelter is for people who require a place to sleep and to work toward housing goals. As additional phases of the site are developed, it will offer more housing and service options for people who are experiencing homelessness, people who are at risk of homelessness, or individuals who need help to live independently in the community.

    As additional phases of the site are developed, there is potential to provide housing that will offer more service options for people who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or individuals who need help to live independently in the community.

  • Will there be room for families and/or pets?

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    We will rely on community engagement to help determine the type of services offered at this site. However, we understand the importance of pets for well-being and will permit pets following Public Health guidelines.

  • Will this site offer a safe injection site?

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    Durham Region does not currently have any safe injection sites (Consumption and Treatment Services). There are no plans for a safe injection site; safe injection sites/consumption and treatment services are the responsibility of the provincial government.

    We understand there are existing concerns about homelessness and drug use in the community. We are gathering community feedback to help shape which services should be available here.

  • How will the Region address increased crime?

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    The Region takes security seriously and we will work to mitigate any negative impacts to the community and keep people using the facility safe. The mitigation plan will include a plan to address security concerns in partnership with local law enforcement, Durham Regional Police Service and others, should the need arise.

    Homelessness is a housing status; being homeless is not a crime nor does it mean people experiencing homelessness have or will commit crimes. Offering services to support people who are experiencing homelessness, people who are at risk of homelessness, or individuals who need help to live independently in the community does not mean crime will increase, but we will work proactively to mitigate issues and address any issues that arise promptly.

    It is important not to discriminate against service users by assuming they are responsible for all issues in the community moving forward. If a service user is responsible, they will be held accountable for their actions, as any other member of the community would be held accountable.

  • Will you be hiring for this location once services are determined?

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    Although the type of services has yet to be determined, Regional staff and other external service providers may offer on-site services. Staffing will align with the service demands at the site; an emergency shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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