In the early 90s, a number of agencies with the common interest of serving street youth, broadly defined as homeless, identified the need for a walk-in clinic that would provide youth with health care. In 1992, they came together and founded the SHOUT Clinic, with a mandate from the Ministry of Health to “promote access to health care for street involved youth”. As part of the funding agreement, SHOUT Clinic joined the West Central Community Health Centres of Toronto in order to protect the long-term viability of the clinic by attaching it to an existing community health centre.
SHOUT Clinic started with one doctor, one counsellor and two nurses, and operated from space within the Turning Point Youth Services building on Wellesley Street in Toronto. The service had a very strong commitment to being accessible to the diverse youth populations in Toronto including LGBT youth, newcomer youth, pregnant and parenting youth, youth marginalized as a result of mental health concerns and those involved with the criminal justice system.
- In 1994, a property was purchased at 467 Jarvis St. and SHOUT Clinic became a fully functioning clinic for marginalized and homeless, transitional aged (16-25) youth. In this new dedicated space, SHOUT Clinic provided youth centred medical, mental health and support services in a “one-shop”, drop-in service model that was responsive to the immediate health care needs of high risk, transitional aged youth from across the GTA. SHOUT grew to include three doctors, two nurse practitioners, two extended class nurses, two mental health counsellors, a parenting worker, two client support workers, an intake worker and a health promoter, all of whom were very knowledgeable about the impact of homelessness and street involvement on the health outcomes of youth.
One of the unique features of SHOUT was the provision of care in partnership with other organizations in order to provide a broad range of other programs and services to meet the complex and varied needs of our clients. These partnerships allowed SHOUT to offer legal, employment and housing supports, as well as ID clinics and foot care. In addition, SHOUT Clinic nurses provided outreach via regular “satellite clinics” to youth in agencies in which youth had already built trust with staff.
- In 1996, a dental clinic was established which had one dental co-ordinator. A group of almost 40 highly dedicated professional dentists and hygienists volunteered to keep a 3-day-a-week dental program operating. All equipment and supplies were donated by over 20 companies and individuals.
- In 1997, SHOUT Clinic received funding through charitable donations to provide youth who had earned a place in a college, university or vocational program with bursary awards to assist them in their educational goals and improve their marketable skills.
- In 2010, The Board of Directors of Central Toronto Community Health Centres were faced with a decision about the future of the SHOUT clinic, which was located in an old Victorian home designated by the City as a historical building. Given the age of the house, maintenance and renovations costs to enable building accessibility became prohibitive, so the Board decided to sell the property and re-locate services to a new location. Additionally, 18 years since SHOUT began service in the Wellesley – Jarvis area, the target populations of youths had shifted to other parts of the GTA, and there were now more shelter and housing services for youth in its immediate vicinity. A review of the SHOUT clinic was conducted through consultation with clients, partner agencies and staff, and a decision was made to close the service at the Jarvis Street location.
- In 2011, the SHOUT Jarvis Street location was sold and the SHOUT clinic was integrated into the larger Central Toronto Community Health Centres at Queen West and Bathurst. SHOUT clinic staff and services were integrated, and youth services now operate from the Queen West location.
In 2011, SHOUT clinic services and staff were integrated into the larger Central Toronto Community Health Centres location at Queen West and Bathurst. SHOUT Clinic staff and services were integrated, and youth services now operate from the Queen West location.