Dorothy, a senior in her 70s has led a full life.

She grew up attending private schools and social clubs, became a singer and toured four continents! She enjoyed her life and lived independently in private market housing until her mobility began to decline, her bills increased, her housing costs skyrocketed and she lost her apartment when she could no longer afford her rent.

Dorothy tried to find more affordable housing, but the average rent in Toronto for a one-bedroom apartment was over $2,000! Dorothy’s age and her use of a mobility device made it even harder to find housing.

Dorothy needed a safe place to stay where she could take part in daily activities, socialize with other people, and enjoy her independence. Instead, she found herself in one of our emergency homeless shelters.

To go from living independently in her own apartment to being surrounded by women struggling with a variety of challenges was a shock for Dorothy. Mostly, Dorothy kept to herself.

Affordable housing is scarce and Dorothy worried that she would be overlooked in favour of younger people. She was afraid that a seniors’ residence, if she could even afford one, would become her destination.

But then Dorothy found permanent, rent-geared-to-income housing at YWCA Toronto.

Here she found a welcoming community, relief at having her own space again, and a home for both her and her beloved cat. After nine months of feeling lonely and isolated in a temporary shelter, Dorothy feels she has her life back. She is thrilled to be able, once again, to have her friends over to visit.

Dorothy now has what she needs to be comfortable and safe in her accessible apartment and enjoys her freedom and a sense of belonging. As she puts it, “It looks and feels like home.


Learn more about our new Women's shelter.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Liz Chornenki, Annual Giving Officer at or 416.961.8100 x360.