Eva Maud Smith (1923-1993) was a woman of action. In 1956 at the age of 33, she immigrated to Canada from Jamaica as a domestic worker. Nothing was easy about her first years in this country, but it wasn’t long before she became a Toronto community leader and Guidance Counsellor at George Vanier Secondary School.
No matter her personal circumstances, Eva’s heart was drawn to our city’s young people. She wanted to help them grow up healthy and happy and get a great education, but she realized that the experience of homelessness had become a barrier for some. Eva shed light on hidden youth homelessness, showing decision-makers the scope of the problem and rallying supporters to do something about it. She demonstrated that adult shelters were missing the specialized supports youth needed to avoid chronic homelessness in the long term. It’s through Eva Smith’s trailblazing work that our original emergency shelter and the first youth-focussed shelter in North York, Toronto, Eva’s Place, was opened for homeless youth.
Although Eva Smith passed away in 1993, her spirit has lived on. A few years later, Eva’s Satellite, Canada’s only harm reduction shelter for youth, opened to provide specialized supports for youth challenged by addictions and mental health. And after that, Eva’s Phoenix was launched to provide youth transitional housing and the skills they need to find and maintain housing and employment in the long run.
Today, Eva’s serves hundreds of young people and their families every year, offering a unique combination of safe shelter and housing, street outreach, counselling, training, and life skills programs. We support them to build productive, self-sufficient, and healthy lives. We’re also known for taking bold risks and sharing best practices to prevent, reduce, and end youth homelessness.
Our award-winning programs have been proven to help homeless youth lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives.Donate online now