Facts about Sherbourne

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS about our new supportive housing apartment complex built for people living with HIV/AIDS and seniors on Sherbourne Street.

What is Sherbourne?

Fife House and our partners, WoodGreen Community Services and the Wellesley Institute, have built a new supportive housing apartment complex on part of the site of the former Wellesley Central Hospital. Formerly called the "Wellesley Site", and officially known as "Wellesley Central Residences, Inc." we're pleased to now call it by its Fife House name:  Sherbourne!

The building has 112 apartments units: 56 for people living with HIV/AIDS and operated by Fife House; and 56 for seniors and operated by WoodGreen Community Services. With the exception of the 11-room cluster unit for our Transitional Housing Program on the third floor, the apartment building does NOT have separate floors for people living with HIV/AIDS or for seniors; residents in the building areintegrated on each floor.

The apartments are a combination of bachelors, one bedroom and two bedroom units. This means that for the first time in Fife House's history, we are able to provide housing to families living with HIV/AIDS. The additional housing units represent an increase of 35% in the number of units available for people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto.

The building opened for residency in the summer of 2008.

Will Fife House and WoodGreen jointly own the new building?

No, the building is actually owned and operated by a new non-profit corporation called the Wellesley Central Residences Inc. This new entity acts as the landlord for the residents, and has the responsibility for handling all maintainance and financial aspects of the building.

What is the actual breakdown of the 112 apartments at Sherbourne?

Fife House's 56 new units are comprised of:

  • 23 bachelor-size apartments (average of 320 sq. ft.);
  • 2 bachelor-size apartments that are wheelchair accessibles (average of 360 sq. ft.);
  • 12 one bedroom apartments (approximately 475 sq. ft. each);
  • 2 wheelchair accessible one bedroom apartments (approximately 540 sq. ft.);
  • 6 two bedroom apartments (average of 720 sq. ft.).

WoodGreen has:

  • 30 bachelors (2 wheelchair accessible);
  • 26 one bedroom apartments (2 wheelchair accessible).

Are the two bedroom units available to anyone; how many individuals are allowed to live in them?

The two bedroom units are reserved for "families" living with HIV/AIDS. "Families" are defined as either couples or adults with children where at least one person in the family is infected with HIV, thereby affecting the whole family.  The number of individuals allowed to live in the two bedroom apartments is subject to City of Toronto's bylaws and the Social Housing Reform Act.

Are the apartments furnished?

The apartments are unfurnished, but are equipped with a refrigerator and stove; bathrooms are all equipped with safety bars. Thanks to a generous donation from Rubbermaid Canada, all units have been supplied with closet organizers.

What is the Transitional Housing Program?

As 97% of the Fife House waiting list applicants are homeless, having transitional housing units is a very important part of our services.  Transitional housing provides a secure and supportive environment in which to assess our clients' needs and determine the best course of action in terms of more permanent housing, medical care and access to social services. The unit is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering intense case management services.  Life skills development addresses areas such a nutrition, housekeeping chores and setting up and keeping appointments, ensuring future success when clients leave the program and move to a permanent residence.

What is Transitional Housing Like?

The Transitional Housing unit, funded through a grant from the M.A.C AIDS Fund, occupies the third floor of the building and consists of 11 furnished bachelor apartments (average 220 sq. ft.), each having a private bathroom, storage and small refrigerator for storing medications.  They are arranged in a cluster around a communal kitchen, dinning room and lounge area, encouraging interaction and socialization.  Laundry facilities are also available within the unit.

What amenities does the building have?

The building includes a roof-top healing garden with an adjacent amenities room and kitchen area, a community kitchen, generously equipped thanks to a grant from the Trillium Foundation, a large function room, a wellness centre and a communal lounge area.  The laundry room is located on the ground floor for use by the residents; the machines are supplied by an outside contractor and are coin operated.  Apartments are all wired for cable and internet service and a limited number of lockers are available for tenant storage.

There is a small patio at the back of the building and a public park adjacent to the property.  Bicycle parking and a Wheel-Trans drop-off/pick up area have been accommodated.

The location provides easy access to grocery shopping, a community centre and library, drug store and medical services in the immediate neighbourhood.  Public transit is literally at the doorstep with entertainment, shopping and specialized services within walking distance.

What kind of security is available at the building?

There is a security camera and door entry system in the lobby of the building similar to most apartment buildings.  There are no on-site security guards.  Access to the healing garden, community kitchen, communal lounge area, etc. is via pass keys and/or swipe cards; access also depends on the time of day.

How is Sherbourne staffed?

Both Fife House and WoodGreen have their own resident support staff to provide services to their respective residents.  Both agencies provide 2 staff, each working 8-hour shifts on 24/7 basis.

WoodGreen and Fife House staff typically work only with their own residents.  The two agencies collaborate when they have a mutual client (i.e. a person living with HIV/AIDS who is also a senior and, therefore, requiring services from both agencies) and in case of an emergency.

How do residents contact staff in the building?

Residents are able to contact resident support staff by telephone or in person; appointments may also be booked.

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