Often hidden and out of sight, homelessness is an ongoing crisis in York Region. Every day, roughly 1,500 individuals are sleeping on the streets, in tents, couch surfing, or sleeping in cars — roughly 1,500 people don’t have a safe place to call home or lay their head tonight.
Forty years ago, Blue Door made a change. They opened their doors as the first emergency housing provider in York Region for men and continue to remain the only emergency housing provider for men.
Over the years, Blue Door has grown to become York Region’s largest emergency housing provider, driven by its vision of creating a region where everyone has safe, affordable, and supportive housing.
Daniele Zanotti, president and CEO of United Way Greater Toronto, expressed his gratitude for the Blue Door.
“For 40 years, Blue Door has changed lives in York Region — helping people and families move from emergency shelter to housing to homes to hope. We have been proud to partner with this nimble, forward-thinking organization and look forward to continuing to work together for decades to come, ensuring everyone has a safe, affordable home.”
In the past five years, Blue Door has rapidly expanded to meet the ever-pressing needs of our community’s most vulnerable, focusing on the root causes of homelessness and breaking down barriers to housing, health, and meaningful employment.
“Blue Door provides housing for youth, families, and men in our rapidly changing and urbanizing communities. As life’s challenges become more difficult and more complex, we need the services and expertise of Blue Door now more than ever,” says the mayor of Newmarket, John Taylor. “I am grateful that Blue Door is part of our community and grateful that they have served our community for 40 years. Every person has a right to safe and dignified housing and Blue Door is at the forefront of fulfilling that need and that right. Thank you, and congratulations, Blue Door, on 40 years of service.”
Although Blue Door has saved the lives of thousands of people in the last 40 years, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are disproportionately affecting people on the brink of or experiencing homelessness. These are our neighbours who have lost jobs, have weakened immune systems from skipping meals to save money, and were forced to give up their house and sleep in their car.
Your community needs your support.
“As Blue Door embarks on its 40th year of service to the community, it’s a good time to not only reflect on the thousands of lives changed and saved, but on what can be accomplished when a talented and passionate group of staff work together,” says Blue Door’s CEO, Michael Braithwaite. “Our community partners, volunteers, faith communities, funders and supporters continue to make this work possible and inspire us on our journey to prevent and end homelessness. While our work is not done, I have no doubt that in working together, we can and will end homelessness.”
To acknowledge this incredible community of supporters and encourage everyone to be part of the solution, Blue Door will be marking its 40th anniversary by hosting Doors Unlocked, a free, family-friendly afternoon in the park sponsored by Enbridge.
“At Enbridge Gas, it’s more than just the energy we deliver; it’s the energy we put in. We’re committed to supporting our communities in being healthy, vibrant places to live,” said Steve McGivery, director, GTA east operations, Enbridge Gas. “These past two years during the pandemic, more than any in recent memory, underscore the importance of having a safe and secure place to live, sleep, share time with family… and for many, to work and even attend school. We were honoured to work with Blue Door on this powerful fundraising initiative and celebrate its 40-year commitment to ending homelessness in York Region.”
Blue Door is inviting community members to attend Doors Unlocked on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Aurora Town Park and The Armoury from 4 to 8 p.m. to help mark this important milestone.
Unwind at Doors Unlocked while listening to live local music from The Beresfords, MishE, and Yellow Magnolia while enjoying a tasty, free barbecue. The event will also feature interactive art, auctions, a scavenger hunt, and the opportunity to hear from lived experts as they share their experiences with homelessness and Blue Door.
There are many ways to get involved in Doors Unlocked and help your community’s most vulnerable:
- Become a sponsor. Opportunities range from $500 to $15,000.
- Volunteer: Various volunteer opportunities are available leading up to and on the day of the event. For more details email Rebecca.email@example.com.
- Spread the word and join us: The best way to get the word out is through community promotion. Consider promoting the event throughout your network and encouraging them to join us.