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.

  • Have any studies been conducted to assess potential impacts on property values in the area?

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    Property values can be influenced by many factors. There are no specific studies that confirm property values will decrease because of a new shelter.

  • Has anyone spoken with area residents or explained why they were not notified in advance?

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    Area residents are not notified in advance of a pending real estate transactions made by the Regional Municipality of Durham. The reality is that negotiations involve confidential financial details. They need to remain that way.

    As the Service System Manager, the Region is expanding services available across Durham to support people with housing and homelessness supports. Homelessness is a crisis across the region and the country.

    The Region made the announcement on the day it took possession of the property. This was done to make this decision public. The notification can be reviewed here.

    We encourage the community to stay up to date by visiting the project website at yourvoice.durham.ca/HelpAddressHomelessness.

  • How will the facility address accessibility concerns?

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    As outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), the Region will ensure 1635 Dundas meets accessibility requirements; supporting the vision of a fully accessible Ontario.

  • Why was the shelter beside the Whitby library closed? Are there plans to keep it open instead of this site?

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    The warming shelter located by the Whitby library was opened for overnight 12-hour winter warming only. It was used to keep people inside and alive during the harsh winter weather. It closed in the spring as it is not an appropriate space for an emergency shelter to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    The previous warming shelter did not have full bathrooms or kitchen space. The 1635 Dundas location has rooms, bathroom facilities and kitchen space, which will allow people to be indoors 24/7.

  • How will Durham Region Police Service (DRPS) ensure community safety?

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    DRPS keeps this Region safe through enforcement and community-based crime prevention. Community members are asked to call 911 to report emergencies or crimes in progress. For non-emergencies, community members can use the online reporting tool at drps.ca.

  • What can I do to stop the project? I don't want a drop-in, 24-hour shelter in my neighborhood.

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    The project has been approved by Regional Council. Council voted to purchase the 1635 Dundas property and then to open the facility 24 hours a day as an emergency low barrier shelter for approximately 45 individuals. No additional zoning approval is required, and the Ontario Human Rights Code does not allow people to choose who lives in their neighborhood. This facility will support the people who are currently having to live outdoors in Whitby, in ravines and in the area surrounding 1635 Dundas.

    The shelter spaces will support the need for overnight indoor space that existed last year. In addition, this site will allow people to stay inside during the day and work toward their goals instead of moving around outside in the cold.

    Shelters have registration and intake processes in place as well as policies to address health and safety, infection prevention and processes to manage daily operations.

  • Why would the largest drop in- shelter in Canada be set up in Whitby?

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    Durham Region does not have the intention of creating one of the largest emergency shelters in Canada at this site.

    Currently, the urgency is to get 45 spaces operational at the shelter to bring people indoors before winter 2023. For a shelter to be considered operational, support services and policies must be in place. This initial phase will be shared rooms only, as only a portion of the building will be made operational at that time.

  • What was the process of purchasing the facility and how much money did the Region spend to purchase the site?

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    Municipalities in Ontario follow the same process for purchasing property. The total purchase price for the facility was $13.7 million – this is public information and can be found in the property transfer deed of land at the Land Registry Office. The Region retained a third-party licensed appraiser to assess the property before purchase and the property was purchased at fair market value in accordance with the Region’s process for property acquisition. The decision to purchase the facility was approved by Regional Council. The purchase process and decisions were made separate from any plans and discussions surrounding the use of the facility.

  • Is the Region wasting taxpayer dollars by paying over $13 million for the 1635 Dundas property?

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    All municipalities in Ontario follow the same process for purchasing property. The total purchase price was $13.7 million. The Region retained a third-party licensed appraiser to assess the property before purchase and the property was purchased at fair market value in accordance with the Region’s process for property acquisition.

    The Region is always looking for the most efficient and cost-effective way to provide services that the community needs. Purchasing an existing facility is more cost effective than building a new facility to support the community.

    Currently, a new long-term care home is projected to cost about $160 million to build. While the long-term care home has more extensive requirements, the size is similar to the size of the 1635 Dundas building. The purchase of 1635 Dundas provides a great opportunity to address community needs at a significantly lower cost than a new build.


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