This morning, Ajax Council unanimously voted in support of the Region of Durham utilizing Town-owned space at the Ajax Plaza to temporarily shelter individuals experiencing homelessness. The space, the former Central Park Ajax Pavilion, is currently vacant and is anticipated to shelter 25-30 individuals at any time.

The motion was introduced by Mayor Shaun Collier and seconded by Regional Councillor Joanne Dies and addresses Ajax’s current unsheltered population by providing them the sufficient space to stay and be connected to resources to assist them to find permanent and stable housing.

The Town has recognized the existing homelessness challenges faced by the community. Council and staff have been working with the Region and service providers since prior to the start of the pandemic and the Ajax Mayor’s Gala has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to address homelessness.

The Region will be working closely with service providers in Ajax, such as the Ajax Hub and the street outreach team, to connect individuals and families who are currently living unsheltered in the Town to programming at 27 Station Street. The Region prioritizes serving individuals in their community to make the search for permanent and stable housing easier.

The Town will also be working with the Region to finalize any necessary processes and measures needed for this site. As the location is temporary, the Region will be responsible for transitioning shelter clients should either party terminate the lease agreement in the future. If there is a need for the land the building is no longer required, the Town would be open to the Region relocating the structure to another appropriate vacant site to utilize.


“Ajax has been vocal in its acknowledgement of the existing homelessness challenges within our community and continues to make the ongoing issue of individuals living unsheltered in the Town a priority. I am proud of this Council for recognizing the importance of supporting the approval of this temporary space for our vulnerable population, working to resolve the overpopulated shelters and ensure more individuals have access to necessary resources to make the search for permanent housing easier.” - Mayor Shaun Collier

“Recommendations that address the existing homelessness challenges in Ajax, will serve to alleviate the capacity at current shelters and ensure unsheltered individuals receive the assistance they require. The support and approval of this temporary emergency shelter is the Town’s most impactful action to address homelessness to date and is a significant step in the right direction to overcome these challenges.” - Regional Councillor Joanne Dies, Ward 3

Quick Facts

  • In the fall of 2022, the Regional Municipality of Durham approached municipalities asking for potential sites to utilize as temporary emergency shelter space for the upcoming 2022-2023 winter season.
  • Ajax is the first municipality to respond to this urgent request made by the Region.
  • Town staff explored the potential space internally with representatives from Fire and Emergency Services, Planning & Development, By-law and Public & Strategic Affairs, followed by on-site and virtual meetings with the Region’s Social Services department. As a result, the feasibility of using the site as a temporary shelter was established.
  • 27 Station Street (Central Park Sales Pavilion) was identified as a potential site in Ajax, for a temporary emergency shelter space, due to its current vacant status and the proximity to other homelessness supports and amenities.
  • The establishment of a temporary emergency shelter would be the Town’s largest and most impactful concrete action to address homelessness to date, outside of financial contributions made by the Ajax Mayor’s Gala.
  • Over the course of the pandemic, there has been a sustained increase in homelessness, and in recent months, shelters across the Region are operating at over 100 percent capacity.
  • According to the Region’s most recent statistics (recorded in the Built for Zero Report Card), at least 289 individuals were recorded to be experiencing homelessness in September 2022, with 175 of those having been homeless for six months or longer. There were 39 actively homeless individuals in Ajax, up from 15 in January 2022.
  • The shelter is expected to offer 25-30 shelter beds, while housing-focused programming will help clients develop a housing plan. This low-barrier shelter would support all genders and be operational 24 hours a day.
  • The Region is planning several improvements to make the building suitable for the intended use, including plumbing upgrades, the addition of two bathrooms, accessibility updates, layout changes and security upgrades.
  • Christian Faith Outreach Centre (CFOC) is prepared to manage the daily operations, with all related costs to be absorbed by the Region.
  • CFOC currently operates the Ajax Hub, a support hub for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and Doors of Compassion, a 20-bed housing focused shelter.

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