The Storefront was one of Toronto’s first service delivery hubs. Its unique model supports 35-40 organizations to bring their expertise, programs and services to people in the previously underserved neighbourhood of Kingston Galloway/Orton Park (KGO)
The Storefront hub is bustling. Residents access services at the Hub more than 40,000 times a year.
The Storefront’s hub is an inviting gathering place for the community and offers local residents support in their search for employment while at the same time, connecting them with programs or services to help them with any issues they face. The hub also provides residents access to a range of space and equipment including a sports court, a commercial grade kitchen, a garden, computers, fax, phone.
The programs and services at the Hub include a full service Employment Ontario Resource Centre. The other services that the hub partners bring to the community are many and varied. For a complete list of programs and services including settlement, legal, financial, social and health, check out our programs and services listings, drop in or call us at 416-208-9889 x21 – one of our knowledgeable Community Resource Specialists would be happy to help you.
As well as programs and services, the Storefront’s hub offers free use of computers, fax, scanner and telephone (a photocopier is also available for 10 cents a page).
Community groups are also welcome to book space at the Hub for their programs. Spaces include meeting rooms, our eco-food hub commercial grade kitchen, outdoor sportscourt and sky-o-swale. For more information, please contact Shane Beharry, Manager of Community Resource Connections at 416-208-7197 ext 23 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Storefront’s innovative hub model was first designed as a response to a near crisis situation in 1999 when hundreds of refugees were being housed in the community and unable to access the services they needed to establish their lives in Canada. When community groups like the Caring Alliance, organizations like Social Planning Council and municipal services like Toronto Public Health began to explore solutions to this problem, they very quickly learned that the lack of services was not only impacting new refugees, but the thousands of people living in nearby tower apartment buildings as well.
Their response was to call a meeting of social service organizations with mandates to serve the East Scarborough Community but who were challenged to do so because of geography. Sixty organizations came to the first meeting and 40 stayed for the next two years to co-create a model that would bring a wide range of services to the community without incurring high costs. The result was the creation of the East Scarborough Storefront service hub in Morningside Mall in 2001.
Here’s how it works and continues to work today:
The Storefront partners are all itinerant. They do not pay for space, nor do they charge for providing their service to KGO residents. They come because The Storefront is a welcoming space and The Storefront staff are committed to helping each organization to meet its own mandate individually and leverage each other’s expertise so that residents receive more wholistic service supports. Each organization provides their own unique program or service at the Hub for up to 10 hours per week.
The Storefront’s service hub has helped thousands of people since 2001 and throughout, the partnership has remained strong. The benefits to this approach are multifold:
- The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – residents experience a seamless “one stop shop.” The Storefront staff take responsibility for co-ordinating services and helping residents to navigate them, which takes enormous stress off individual residents. The potential benefits to individual residents are demonstrated in this short video.
- Trust by association – Because The Storefront is trusted in the community, new partners are afforded immediate credibility.
- Breakdown of isolation – The shared space and partner meetings further serve to create a feeling of community between the many agencies that had previously operated in isolation.
- Safe workspace with resources – Partner agencies are provided with a well-maintained, safe space in which to deliver services. This means they can focus on delivering services and not concern themselves with maintaining a building or ensuring all appropriate systems are in place (telephones, computers, Internet, etc).
- Cost-effective – The Storefront hub model is a cost-effective way to ensure that underserved communities are provided with the support readily available in other areas of the city.
- Access to community networks – The Storefront provides an effective outreach program. Because The Storefront is so well known and trusted in the community, partners that join have access to the existing network of residents, faith groups, schools, police and neighbourhood associations in the community.
Job Matching, Workforce Training and Job Readiness
The Storefront provides a range of employment supports for job seekers and recruitment supports for employers. We support residents to search for work and build skills that are in demand via Employment Ontario Programs offered at The Storefront. We also facilitate access to training, focusing on specific training that local employers need.
To access Employment Ontario programs and information for both individuals and employers, click the button below:
While we work in all sectors and with a wide range of businesses across the City, our focus is local. By partnering with local institutions and on local public infrastructure projects, we work towards ensuring that KGO residents are well positioned to successfully secure local jobs as and when they become available.
To receive individual job search/training support please contact our contact our Community Resource Specialists at 416-208-9889x21 – they will be happy to help connect you to the right person.
The Storefront’s philosophy is to foster a culture of support between KGO businesses and residents to promote local economic well-being. Local businesses who hire local job seekers can increase the amount of money circulating in the community, which builds community wealth and strengthens both residents and businesses.
Please contact Carolyn Saenz Esterheuse, Manager of Local Economic Opportunities for more information at 647-347-1693 ext. 36 or email@example.com
Outcomes – Story
André needed - and found - support from The Service Hub that went well Beyond
André came to The Storefront to learn more about Second Career Financial Assistance. He had to leave his high stress job a few years ago due to health reasons and was now ready to re-enter the workforce. After André completed the lengthy application, he submitted his application to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).
The Ministry responded to André’s application with many questions about his plans to relocate. With support of Storefront staff, André successfully demonstrated that the cost of studying and living out of Peterborough will be lower than in Toronto which will allow him to be financially independent sooner rather than later upon graduation. His application was then approved.
Unfortunately, upon moving and settling in Peterborough, André quickly learned he was no longer eligible to receive Ontario Works Storefront staff reached out to André’s landlord to advocate on his behalf, explaining why the rent will be paid soon and worked with MAESD to resolve the delay in payments as well as increase the initially assessed financial benefits.
In the end, André was able to access Ontario Works again, with limitations, but the additional support has been helpful. André has access to a higher basic living allowance, more generous health insurance coverage and is continuing his education in the college of his choice and residing at the same address.
André came to The Storefront looking for help to enter the Second Career program. He got what he was looking for, and more. Because Storefront staff helped advocate for him, André is in a better economic situation, overall and on his way to a new career and better life.