Did you know? Street Health's Hours of operation have changed! Please see below for more details.  

Mon 9:30-5:00  Tue 11:00-5:00  Wed 9:30-5:00  Thur 9:30-5:00  Fri 9:30-5:00  

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A Brief History of Street Health

Throughout its 35 years, Street Health has undergone growth and change.

Street Health was one of the first organizations dedicated to serving those who are homeless or who lack secure housing. We remain committed to working with and advocating for individual client needs. We will also continue to stay true to our roots by advocating for ending homelessness, poverty and stigma associated with mental health and substance use issues.

1986

Four nurses, who have different backgrounds but share a vision for improving the lives of people who are homeless in Toronto, came together for the first time. For three years they volunteer their time and expertise running a clinic in the Toronto Friendship Centre at Dundas and Sherbourne streets. 

1989

With significant advocacy, the provincial government confirms funding for Street Health Community Nursing Foundation. A small office space in the basement of the church is the hub for Street Health’s nurses – working to meet the needs of a marginalized community.

1992

Street Health Report is released, highlighting the severity of the health problems and living conditions of homeless people in Toronto. The report is the first of its kind to provide valuable data to support advocacy efforts.

1995

The Ontario Conservative Government makes dramatic cuts to social assistance rates and removes restrictions on rent increases. This is a period of rising evictions and increased homelessness. It becomes impossible for the city and the province to deny the homelessness crisis they have fueled. Street Health purchases the building at 338 Dundas Street East, Toronto.

1996

Recognizing that services alone will not alleviate the hardships experienced by those who live on the margins, Street Health staff are advocates in the struggle against poverty. Staff participated in a public inquiry into a freezing death of three homeless men in Toronto and are part of the Toronto Disaster Relief Coalition.

1997

Mental Health Case Managers become part of Street Health’s services to support the countless people struggling with mental health issues.

2001

Street Health is recognized for our groundbreaking efforts as the lead agency for the first National Harm Reduction Conference. The municipal government declares homelessness a National Disaster, bringing much needed funding to the issue.  

2003

The ID Safe program begins to offer homeless people a place to store their important identification documents to prevent loss and theft.

2004

Street Health was one of the first agencies to distribute clean needles to injection drug users and promote the concept of Harm Reduction. The Crack Users Project was a groundbreaking program aiming to reduce the harms associated with the use of crack cocaine. This program also created new opportunities for those who bring lived experience to their learning and work.

2007

The follow-up Street Health Report was conducted and released providing an education and advocacy tool.

While a recognized approach today, Street Health was among the first to promote Harm Reduction for working with people who use illicit drugs. (Harm Reduction are the policies, programs and practices which reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences that may result from the use of both legal and illegal drugs, without necessarily reducing drug use.)

The cornerstones of Harm Reduction are public health, human rights, and social justice. Harm Reduction services have expanded and include, drop-in services, kit making, outreach, peer support.

2018

Street Health partners with Sherbourne Health to begin the Inter-Professional Primary Care Health Bus bringing Nurse Practitioners, Case Managers, and Support Workers, in the evening and weekend, to the high needs community of Moss Park.

2020

Street Health begins a Safer Opioid Supply (SOS) program in collaboration with Regent Park CHC and South Riverdale CHC. This initiative supports street-level opioid users with a safe and more predictable alternative to the toxic street supply. Street Health has a team, which includes a Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse and Community Health Worker, dedicated to this program.

2021

Street Health continues to expand it’s partnerships with other service providers to bring harm reduction services to high risk COVID shelters and hotels.

2021 marks the 35th year of Street Health services in the mid-east region of Toronto. Learn more about Street Health's history and services.