Our History

The Beginning

Fife House was founded by a group of concerned community members inspired by the story of George Fife, a local lawyer who lost his struggle with AIDS. On February 10, 1988, Fife House was established as a charitable organization to begin to fill urgent need in Toronto for supportive housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Growth in Programs

After a heroic fundraising effort, the first residence, Denison, was opened on July 1, 1990 with a capacity for five people living with HIV/AIDS.

A growing awareness of the acute housing / homelessness crisis in Toronto led Fife House to take action. Today Fife House provides 80% of the supportive housing and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto. The Fife House model of service delivery now spans the full spectrum of housing options:

    • an apartment building (Jarvis), with support services available if required;
    • two residential programs (Denison and Sherbourne);
    • a rent subsidy program for people with substance use issues;
    • a support program for those aging with HIV with cognitive and complex care issues;
    • the Transitional Housing Program (Sherbourne); and
    • the Homeless Outreach Program.

    As many people live longer because of new drug therapies, we’re working to ensure they can live as independently as possible and concentrate on maintaining and improving their health. People living with HIV/AIDS should not have to worry about where they’ll sleep tonight, next week or next month.

    Growth in Volunteers and Staff

    Volunteers have always been essential to Fife House. In its early years, the work of Fife House was carried out primarily by a group of committed volunteers.

    We have steadily hired more and more talented and committed staff to provide high-quality support services in our growing roster of programs,. Fife House now employs about 60 staff individuals. Many of the staff who provide front-line support services have training in social work or related areas.

    Growth in Awareness Raising

    Fife House has always been committed to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS in general and about the importance of basic necessities like housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. It’s easier to focus on your health when you’re not worried about getting and keeping a roof over your head. To do so, Fife House has used special events to raise our awareness.