The CRC began operating in 1964 and was incorporated in 1965.
At a newly renovated Rosedale United Church a group had been meeting for more than a year to discuss what their church could contribute to social justice. They looked at models in the US and Canada and decided that their focus would be ecumenical and urban.
They invited Rev. John Metson from Alberta to be the founding director of their proposed “Inner City Christian Mission” in Regent Park. Metson accepted the invitation but suggested a new name that reflected a ministry in which people would be offered resources to create change for themselves, thus the name, the Toronto Christian Resource Centre, also known as the CRC.
CRC is place where people do not just get a hand out; they get engaged and form community. Social inclusion happens because people help themselves while helping others whether it is through the provision of food, clothing or shelter and advocacy, each person who is helped, helps another.
At CRC, the work that we do is about helping people meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. The work is also about social justice – working with others to advocate for changes to policies, practices and institutions that result in people being marginalized.
At CRC, we do this work in a personalized way that supports people to live with dignity and with respect.
Regent Park is Canada’s largest and oldest social housing community. Built in 1949 it was home to 2083 households, with more than 8300 residents. 90 different languages are spoken; 73% of the adult residents are underemployed; 12% are university educated in Canada and more than 63% have university educations from outside of Canada. 100% however, live in poverty, including more than 5000 youth and children.
The residents of Regent Park have been advocating for change since the mid 1990′s.
They recognized that the design and layout of the community could be improved with the introduction of through streets and commercial enterprises. The CRC worked with the community, becoming a catalyst, to advocate for these needed changes.
In 2000, with the formation of the Toronto Community Housing, the City made an audacious plan to redevelop and revitalize Regent Park over the next 15 years. All 2083 housing units would be demolished, streets would be opened, and businesses would have retail space in the area. City Council also made a commitment that all 2083 units of Rent Geared to Income housing would be replaced, mostly within the footprint of Regent Park, but acknowledged that some may be replaced in bordering communities, and that all residents would have the right to return. They also decided that the new Regent Park would be an intentionally mixed income community, with a blend of affordable housing and market priced housing.
The CRC has been at the forefront of these developments, an epicentre in this exciting revitalization.