St James Town is the densest census district in Canada and one of the densest neighbourhoods in the world. There are 18 high rise apartment buildings contained in a 32.1 acre area and an official population of 15,000, but unofficial estimates range between 25-30,000 people. The area is bounded by Bloor St. to the north, Parliament St. on the east, Wellesley St. to the south and Sherbourne St. on the west. It is sometimes referred to as the "world in a block" with 64% of the population considered as new immigrants. Only 2% of the residents own their own home with 98% renting. It is one of the lower income neighbourhoods in Toronto and yet it also has one of the highest rates of post-secondary education. Most immigrants to Canada have achieved a high level of education, but their degrees are often not recognized.
Over the past four years a small group of lay people from a number of churches in the area have been meeting and working in St James Town. This group includes 5 churches representing 5 denominations as well as 3 non-profit organizations. They are currently running, have run, or are supporting initiatives like a daily afterschool program for grades 1-8, a twice-weekly homework program and basketball camp for high school students, a community kitchen, a youth choir, the local food bank and much more. The group operates through consensus and has no budget of its own. Instead, all funding is channelled through its members and raised internally and externally.