Our Story

House of Compassion's journey began…

  • As a conversation between 2 concerned citizens with the will to make a difference and the desire to show God's love to the disadvantaged
  • Gerard Collins and Bill Kerr understood that without a place to call home, it was not possible to have the stability required to live with dignity and hope
  • Bill Kerr then made a speech entitled "No Fixed Address" to inspire the congregation of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church to get involved
  • Gerard Collins inspired colleagues and friends to participate. He secured donations of furniture and support from the community
  • With the additional help of Dr. Robert Inman, Michael Wills, generous donations from the congregation of Yorkminster Park Baptist church, and rent-geared-to-income funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Bill and Gerard were able to realize their vision of providing a real home to people who would otherwise be institutionalized or homeless

House of Compassion becomes home to 10 people in 1989…

  • 2 row houses on Shaw Street in downtown Toronto were purchased and adapted to provide single room accommodations for 5 men and 5 women
  • Staff were hired and the first residents began to live at House of Compassion in January 1989
  • It was clear from the beginning that most applicants who were in need of high support housing were living with severe and persistent mental illness and so this became the focus of our organization

In 2000, House of Compassion expands and becomes home to 11 more people…

  • Recognizing the need for more high support housing for people living with mental illness, the board of directors embarked on a capital campaign and raised funds to purchase the third row house at the existing Shaw Street location
  • With federal Supporting Community Partnerships Initiative (SCPI) funding, House of Compassion was able to undergo a major renovation which allowed us to increase our capacity from 10 to 21 residents


  • House of Compassion continues to provide stability, support, and hope to 21 people living with severe and persistent mental illness
  • We do this with the support of:
    • Generous donors
    • Rent-geared-to-income funding for our original 10 units through the City of Toronto
    • Rent supplement funding and staff support funding through our partner agency, St. Jude Community Homes

House of Compassion's Future…

  • Over 20 years later, the need for supportive housing is even greater
  • There are over 4000 people on the waiting list for supportive housing and over 350 people on the waiting list for high support housing
  • Knowing that supportive housing continues to be THE best strategy for permanently ending homelessness among people with severe and persistent mental illness, House of Compassion is planning a further expansion

We need your help…

Find out how you can help us continue our story.