The Wagner Green YMCA

Helping homeless youth re-ignite their true potential

1,700 to 7,000 youth experience homelessness in Toronto. 66% don’t have a high school diploma and 77% are unemployed.

The Wagner Green YMCA opened in 2015 to bring these at-risk youth emergency shelter and free drop-in supports to help them build a brighter future.

A look inside

How we support vulnerable youth

Formerly known as The Vanauley Street YMCA, The Wagner Green YMCA is an 11,400 square-foot emergency shelter and drop-in centre for youth experiencing homelessness. Located at 7 Vanauley Street, we support youth in the underserved Queen West and Spadina community, where the need for support services is high.

  • Our 40 bed shelter provides harm-reduction and trauma-informed residential services.
  • Housing supports are available to help youth secure and maintain permanent, affordable accommodations.
  • Working with the City of Toronto and community partners, The Wagner Green YMCA drop-in program aims to provide a safe place where youth living in vulnerable situations can rebuild their trust in people and access the services they need.
  • Here, youth get help to find work and permanent, affordable housing; manage substance use; access medical services and mental health counseling; and build skills for independent living so they can get on track towards a brighter future.

77% of youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto are unemployed. Programming at The Wagner Green YMCA helps put them on the path towards landing a job.

  • The 12-week pre-employment development program is geared towards youth age 18–24 who are receiving social assistance. Participants learn the career development and employment skills they need to start a successful job search.
  • The 9-week employment supports program is a highly specialized, intensive service for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16-24. Participants gain a customized action plan and up to 12 weeks of post-program supports to help them find employment.
  • Specialized supports including transportation, access to food, mental health supports, and more are provided to decrease barriers to participation.

The at-risk young people who rely on the Y

In 2019–2020, 14,525 youth found shelter, education and job opportunities, and mental health and substance use supports at the YMCA. The Wagner Green YMCA is a diverse and 2SLGBTQ+ positive space available to young men age 16–24. Gender is self-identified.

The Wagner Green YMCA

“I was lost and without a roof over my head. I found The Wagner Green YMCA, and since then, the staff have helped me apply for college as well as getting my benefits working. Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt okay and relaxed. You have made me feel at home.”
—Justin, resident at The Wagner Green YMCA

A dazzling show of support

This year, thousands of youth will find wrap-around support at the Y thanks to the incredible generosity of David Green, Daphne Wagner, and their children, Lita and Michael Green.

We are so grateful to these long-time YMCA supporters for their transformational gift to the Strong Start, Great Future Capital Campaign.

It's because of donors like them that the YMCA can continue working to bridge the inequity gaps in our community and give more youth the chance they deserve to shine.

Michael, Lita, Daphne, and David

Make a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth

The Wagner Green YMCA is part of our ambitious Strong Start, Great Future Capital Campaign to build new YMCAs across the GTA. It was the first to open its doors as part of this project.

To help give more people a strong start for a great future, please reach out to:

Ali Kashani
Senior Director, Capital Campaign