Imagine a city where every person feels they belong; where everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive and accomplish their goals.

As a local, Christian development agency, we believe that each and every one of the 500,000 people experiencing poverty in Toronto has immense value. All our resources and energy at Yonge Street Mission (YSM) are focused on working to respond to immediate needs and help people move from surviving to thriving.

We believe if we combine our collective resources and wisdom, together we can reach our goal of ending chronic poverty in a generation. We invite you to join us.

At YSM, everything we do is grounded in our values and guiding principles. Click here to learn more.

We understand poverty. Since 1896, YSM has provided wraparound support and services making it possible for individuals, families and communities to move forward. As a developmental agency specializing in poverty-related challenges, we work closely with individuals, families, children, youth, and entire communities living with chronic poverty. Our aim is to help them rise out of poverty.

A Divided City

Toronto is Canada’s largest and richest city and consistently ranks in the top three of more than 4,000 cities to live in globally.

However, Toronto is also the child poverty capital of Canada with one in four children living in poverty.

500,000 Toronto residents struggle with poverty, of them, 37% are female single parents and 46% are recent immigrants.

Nearly 1 million workers hold two or more jobs and over 2 million people are stuck in temporary employment.

On average, a low income family has less than $10.04 a day for basic needs, such as food, after rent.

Join us, and learn more about how you can get involved and help us Transform Toronto.


Changing Lives

Change begins and ends with people. YSM’s motivation has always been about helping people rise out of poverty and realize their full potential. Our holistic model focuses on adults experiencing chronic poverty, street-involved youth, families in need, and community development.

We use our holistic RISE model of care (Respond, Invite, Support, Engage) and customize it for each population’s unique needs.

Recognizing that each person’s journey is unique, the guiding principles of the holistic model include:

  • Unconditional support for each individual or family.
  • Commitment to walk the entire journey with each person from surviving to thriving, no matter how long or how varied the path.
  • Evaluating our effectiveness with comprehensive tools to measure individual and community transformation.

Building Communities

YSM’s Community Development program is designed to work with people in the community and organizations to affect positive change where they live. The result is not only a more vibrant and inclusive neighbourhood, but residents who are motivated to actively participate in its growth and future.

From our experience, we have learned that in order to have lasting positive change, residents must be the leading voices in the process. YSM’s role is to support their voice. By partnering with other agencies that possess proven, specialized expertise, we can address the unique needs of each of these three populations for maximum impact.

YSM has intentionally invested in the skills development of our Community Development teams to foster solutions that the community identified, owned and delivered.

Learn More about our work in the community here 

Transforming Toronto

To fully realize our vision of ending chronic poverty in Toronto, we must identify key systemic barriers and work with community, government, and all other stakeholders to affect positive change that removes barriers.

How we do this:

Increase the community’s capacity to be informed of policy and participate in the decision making.

Bringing the wisdom of resident voices and practical experiences to key dialogues with our partners in municipal, provincial, and federal government.

Through our Centre for Urban Education, share, foster and contribute to training initiatives and effective community solutions.

By engaging resident voices and leadership, YSM will help ensure that all partnerships respond to the specific priorities and needs of each community.

Our model helps vulnerable people navigate Toronto’s complex social system to access the resources they need.

Individuals, families and communities can then concentrate on becoming healthy and realizing their goals. At every step along the way, YSM helps people overcome any and all barriers on their journey out of poverty.