PROGRAMS > Community Services Network > Sistering


Sistering is a Toronto-based multi-service agency for at-risk, socially isolated women and gender-diverse people experiencing poverty, homelessness, or street involvement. For over 40 years, Sistering’s mission has been to create a welcoming and non-judgemental space for women and gender-diverse people to access services and resources safely and equitably. Sistering operates as a low-barrier shelter to accommodate, support, and offer practical and emotional support to those most affected by systemic discrimination and poverty. Our participants come from diverse backgrounds and have experiences with substance use, mental health issues; disability; trauma and violence; immigration, refugee, and undocumented status. Sistering supports the community by providing food, shelter, clothing, and basic necessities regardless of housing, economic, or employment status. We also offer counseling and peer support, art programming, housing help, harm reduction supplies, referrals to social assistance, legal aid, and on-site access to doctors and psychiatrists; four doctors and psychiatrists are available on-site to assist patients on weekdays. Through our Drop-In shelter and kitchen, health offices, community outreach, and SPUN Studio Community Art Space, where we offer art workshops to community members, we serve over 6,000 clients and provide over 100,000 meals yearly.

Various Programs:

1. Harm reduction program supports people with substance use concerns and provides safe consumption materials for community members. The Needle-pick-up program also services the same group; participants help keep the community clear of harm reduction materials and earn income. The kit-making program services the same group and hires Sistering participants to make harm-reduction kits and earn income. 

2. Drop-in shelter services women & gender-diverse people living in poverty and provides 24hr dro-in shelter and meal services 3 times a day, everyday. 

3. Kapow is a weekly breakfast that services women and gender-diverse folks involved in sex-work. Every Thursday morning Sistering hosts a community breakfast to help build emotional and social supports for those involved in sex-work. 

4. The self-defence workshop services women and gender-diverse people. Sistering offers this workshop in partnership with division 14 police to help teach community members vital self-defence techniques and help build trust between community members from historically marginalized groups and law enforcement. 

5. SPUN studio services women and gender-diverse people living in poverty. SPUN studio is a social enterprise that enable community members to create goods such as, clothing, bags, mittens, hats, etc., which are then sold at the studio and various pop-up events. This program provides a pathay to economic independence for women and gender-diverse people. 

6. Sistering's on-site access to doctors in partnership with Inner City Health Associates helps to bring medical and mental health supports to women and gender-diverse people living in poverty. Our staff practices trauma-informed care, which is particularly helpful in servicing many of Sistering's participants with a history of trauma or violence.

Our ongoing services are: Housing help, case-support after accessing affordable housing, harm reduction, art programing, medical care (on-site doctors and psychiatrists), daily meals, basic necessity items, employment support.

Communities they serve:


Program Contact information: Debra Castellano Program director:  


PROGRAM TYPE: Community Based

SERVING: Anglophone


INTAKE: All programs have now shifted back to in-person. All the above mentioned programs run year-round, in-person, and are open to all Sistering participants. Folks are encouraged to sign-up in the drop-in office if they wish to participate in a program or book an appointment with a case-support worker or doctor.

ELIGIBILITY: All of Sistering programs are open to women and gender-diverse adults, over 19. There are no pre-requesities, we advise participants to inform us of accessibility needs in advance, if they're able to. Our building has an elevetaor for folks with limited mobility.


962 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1L6