New Emergency Shelter Ready to Welcome Women & Families

Women and families experiencing homelessness in Windsor-Essex will soon have a new safe and secure place to go for emergency shelter and support in finding housing. Starting next week, clients experiencing homelessness will be welcomed into a new shelter for women and families located at 500 Tuscarora and receive supports from the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families, who will operate the shelter in a building owned and maintained by the City of Windsor. The new shelter will offer approximately 32 beds for single women and 16 rooms for families, with private washrooms.

The purchase of the building was made possible thanks in part to a $7.75 million contribution from the Province of Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund, as well as $553,000 in funding provided under the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

“Women and families experiencing homelessness face much uncertainty and instability,” said Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. “The addition of the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families in our community will give those who need it access to a supportive and welcoming space when they need it most.”

"I'm delighted to see the Ontario Government's Social Services Relief Fund investing in the Welcome Centre's new facility at 500 Tuscarora," said Andrew Dowie, Member of Provincial Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh.  "The Welcome Centre's new facility supports Ontario's efforts to give women and families in need a positive path forward.  This project provides much-needed, permanent emergency shelter space near integral supports and services."

Establishing a dedicated emergency shelter for women and families was a key priority established for the community through the Windsor Essex Review of Emergency Shelter Services, which was approved by City Council in 2020. “The City of Windsor recognizes the importance of supporting women and families in our community.  Council has committed municipal funding and allocated provincial funding under the Homelessness Prevention Program to support this critical service.” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

The shelter is the first designated shelter for families, and the first pet-friendly shelter in the region, something that Interim Human and Health Services Commissioner Debbie Cercone says is urgently needed.  “This shelter provides for a safe and supportive environment for women and families experiencing homelessness and reduces barriers to service.  This new facility could not have been realized without financial support from the provincial and federal levels of government which has made key operating and capital investments in Windsor-Essex in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”  These investments have assisted to advance the strategies identified under Home Together: Windsor Essex Housing & Homelessness Master Plan, that includes the creation of longer-term solutions to support vulnerable populations.

Executive Director of the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families, Lady Laforet, says the new location gives them even more space and opportunities to help families find permanent affordable housing.

“The new shelter offers families and single women a safe and comfortable space where our team will provide supports to help them through a personal housing crisis and support them in finding permanent affordable housing as quickly as possible. In this new, purposely renovated facility, women and families will have access to dignified private and common areas, as well as healthy food prepared onsite in a new commercial-grade kitchen.  We hope stays at the shelter will lead to more successful outcomes for these individuals and families.” said Laforet. “We are happy to be in the neighbourhood and look forward to building positive relationships with near-by residents and business owners.”

Windsor City Council approved as part of the 2022 Budget additional annual operational funding for the new Welcome Centre to accommodate the increase in the number of rooms available for households in need of temporary shelter at the new facility. Over the next ten years, the City of Windsor will increase funding to the Welcome Centre by about $850,000.

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