About Us | Red Door Family Shelter

About Us

Assisting Families, Refugees and Women Who Are Fleeing Violence

Since 1982, the Red Door Family Shelter has provided emergency shelter and support for women and children affected by domestic abuse, families experiencing a housing crisis, and refugee claimants with nowhere else to turn.  In the early 80's there was only one other shelter operating in Toronto. Responding to the growing need for shelter space for homeless families, the Red Door was opened in the basement of the WoodGreen United Church by a group of volunteers.  We have now grown to be one of the largest family shelters in the city, providing shelter and support to over 350 families every year.

word map of services that help families

Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

A dedicated and caring staff team addresses the particular needs of families in crisis. The services provided reduce the impact of homelessness by providing safe and supportive shelter to hundreds of families each year. We help keep families together by providing services for the whole family, helping them to establish a stable life beyond the shelter.

Shelter and Basic Necessities

  • 24-hour emergency housing
  • On-site medical assistance and referrals
  • Child care

Healing and Strengthening

  • Counselling
  • Case management, safety planning, education
  • Legal, immigration assistance, and advocacy
  • Youth educational programming, school liaison, workshops
  • Parenting and life skills training
  • Extensive programming for children and youth

Transitional support and outreach

  • Assistance to find housing
  • Moving program (provides donated furniture and moving assistance)
  • Weekly food bank
  • Ongoing caseworker support and accompaniment

Families come to the Shelter through a referral from agencies such as Children’s Aid Societies, Public Health Department, Police Services, other shelters, through word of mouth upon the advice of friends. Within approximately 4-6 months most families are re-established back to independent living. Individual circumstances and needs determine the length of stay; some families stay overnight while others live at the shelter for over 6 months to 1 year.

Red Door Family Shelter is a non-profit registered charity serving the GTA. We operate a family shelter and a VAW (Violence Against Women) shelter both in Toronto. The City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario provide the basic operational funding. Donations and private fundraising allow us to provide programs for our residents that go beyond food and shelter; programs that make life a little easier while at the Red Door and that offer tools to achieve long-term objectives.

Happy family

Why are we called the Red Door?

As the congregation of the WoodGreen United Church was preparing space for the December 1982 opening, someone asked, “What name will we give to the Shelter?”

Someone remembered that the minister Rev. Ray Mcleary, during the depression of the 1930’s, painted the church doors red, and they became a symbol of hope and help, then and today. Read more about the history of the Red Door.

For over 35 years, the Red Door Family Shelter has continued to provide hope and help for the thousands of families that have come through its red doors.

Annual Reports

Download a copy of our latest annual report & financial statements:

Annual Report 2021
Audited Financial Statements 2022

View our past annual reports and financial statements at reddoorshelter.ca/financial-info

You may also view our Registered Charity Information Returns through the Canada Revenue Agency website by clicking here.