Fontbonne is not just a place where I live...it is my home which I love — a tenant at Fontbonne Place
Fontbonne Place provides affordable, rent-geared-to-income housing for older, single women. Eighteen apartments in South Riverdale offer a home and the chance to build community with other residents.
At our gathering of 1998, we developed what we call our 'Shared Ministerial Commitment': to nurture community with the groups most in need. Our needs assessment pointed out the lack of affordable housing in Toronto. We saw that single women between the ages of 40 - 60 were vulnerable. Many were either homeless, under housed, in danger of losing housing, or living in an untenable situation. Our mission unfolded: to respond to this need with a building and programs. We began to work.
Our dream of affordable housing started to take shape when the building at 791 Queen Street, formerly St. Michael's Broadview Clinic, became vacant. Since it belonged to the Sisters, they were asked at a 1999 town hall meeting what they wished the space to be used for. "Affordable housing!" was their clear response.
Two stories were added to the existing main floor space and basement. The renovation and expansion allowed for the creation of 18 affordable housing units. An additional unit was designated for Sisters, who would be a presence in the building.
The housing units take up only 60% of the space. The remaining 40% was reserved as a community space to fulfill our commitment to nurturing community. This community space is home to programs like Mustard Seed and In Good Company, which continue to grow and develop.
From the onset, we have been open to using the space for other community activities and often host guests for various community meetings and forums. The building also houses a dental clinic run by the Toronto Board of Public Health, providing dental care to children and seniors on a limited income.
On March 19, 2003, we invited our friends and partners to the official opening and blessing of Fontbonne Place. At that time the 18 units had their first tenants, and many of them are still with us today. Fontbonne Place hums with activity and action. Sister Delphine Fontbonne would be proud.
Fontbonne Ministries, Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto
101 Thorncliffe Park Drive
Toronto, ON M4H 1M2