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The Street House raises the roof on homelessness

The Street House raises the roof on homelessness

This weekend, Torontonians can tour over 135 historically and culturally significant buildings for the Doors Open festival … But the most interesting site doesn’t have a roof.

Homelessness advocacy agency Raising the Roof is inviting the city to experience The Street House, a cardboard house tucked in an empty alleyway between two buildings at 367-369 King St. West.


“Read more” to come on in …

Most Canadians know Raising the Roof by their signature toque fundraising campaign:

Their latest two-day public outreach project has nothing to do with warm heads. The cardboard rooms inside the Street House take visitors through the experience of homelessness as felt by an estimated 200,000 people in Canada.


Copy on the walls encourages visitors to confront what they think they know about people who live on the street.



Visitors are asked to imagine the choices they would make for their own safety and well-being if they were facing homelessness.



The content here reminds me of Urban Ministries of Durham’s online game Spent, where players experience living below the poverty line, making tough choices with limited resources and options.

Personal experiences and stories from people who have been served by Raising the Roof fill the walls.



Executive Director Carolann Barr and other Raising the Roof staff members and volunteers are answering questions and manning the info booth for the exhibit.

Busy King St. W (close to the entertainment district) is a prime area for an installation like this one. When I was down here on a very sunny Friday, it was filled with people moving in out and out of the space. The Street House is only open until 8pm on Saturday May 26, so if you’re in Toronto check it out today or follow the hashtag #streethse on Twitter.

Raising the Roof
Leo Burnett Canada
Additional credits:
Tas Design Build
CNW Group

I am Director of Digital Philanthropy at Artez Interactive and not-for-profit veteran. Read more