After 20 years at 263 Bridge Ave, the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and families is making a move! Our new home, at 500 Tuscarora, will serve women and families, and the community as a whole for many years to come.
Like the women we support, the Centre has been searching for a permanent, safe, comfortable home. As an agency, we wanted space to grow with the needs of the community, and a space that would allow us to be even more impactful on the lives of women and children during the difficult experience of homelessness. After years of searching, we are proud to partner with the City of Windsor which has purchased an amazing property that will be converted to an emergency shelter for women and families.
A review of emergency shelter services, done by the City of Windsor in 2019, confirmed there were gaps in services for women and kids, with numbers of people accessing shelter rising annually. The need for women-centric space was emphasized, along with the need to increase safe and supported shelter capacity for women and families in a single location.
The City of Windsor purchased 500 Tuscarora Ave in March 2021, through generous funding from Ontario's Social Services Relief Fund. Based on the Welcome Centre’s 30 year history supporting families and women in the Windsor community, and a 20 year history of partnering with the City of Windsor on shelter provision, the Centre was approached to utilize the purchased space towards creating a women and family shelter. Over the course of 2021, 500 Tuscarora Ave will be undergoing renovations to ensure the building meets the unique needs of women and kids accessing shelter and all various shelter support programs. Once major renovations are complete, we will begin transitioning clients and services to the new location.
The Welcome Centre has been deeply rooted in the west end community for over 30 years. We’ve been a vital resource in our neighbourhood, providing essential services to women and families and creating positive relationships within the surroundings of our Bridge Ave home. This relocation affords us the opportunity to expand our services, and our relationships, into the city’s core. We look forward to continuing to be a valuable resource to the community, a welcomed neighbour to the area, and a solid service provider to the broader community.
This relocation and agency expansion will create the first shelter dedicated to families in Windsor-Essex. Families have long faced barriers to accessing the same services that have traditionally been made available to single people, and for the first time, the Centre will have the ability to serve both women and families under one roof. This will allow us to expand our family tailored supports and offer services that were previously unavailable to families sheltered temporarily at area motels. This relocation also provides our clients increased access to community services, helping to support women and families on their journeys out of shelter, and into safe, affordable, permanent housing.
This relocation will have amazing benefits to the way our community is able to serve women and families who are experiencing homelessness, including:
- 32+ beds for single women (up from current 12)
- 15 designated family rooms (first permanent shelter beds for families)
- Increased accessibility for clients with physical disabilities
- 800 square feet of program space for children
- Safe outdoor children's space
- Windsor's first pet-friendly shelter
- Space for onsite medical supports for clients
- Increased space for supportive programming, client meetings, and community partners
- Room for physical distancing and increased infection-prevention protocols for staff and clients
- Increased building safety and security
- Space to grow partnerships and opportunities that support women and families in the Windsor-Essex community
Frequently Asked Questions
When will this move take place?
Throughout 2021, 500 Tuscarora Ave will be undergoing renovations to ensure the building meets the unique needs of our clients and our various programs. Once major renovations are complete, we will begin transitioning our clients and services to the new location. This is not expected to take place until late 2021. For now, please continue to direct all inquiries to 263 Bridge Ave and stay tuned to our social feeds for ongoing updates.
How has this move been funded?
The City of Windsor purchased the building at 500 Tuscarora Ave through generous funding from Ontario's Social Services Relief Fund and operating funding will be supported through the Province’s Community Homeless Prevention initiative (CHPI) program as well as Welcome Centre fundraising dollars.
The Welcome Centre has been fundraising for years for the ability to fund an agency relocation and expansion. All funding that has been allocated towards a move (approximately $160,000) will be put to use covering the many one-time costs associated with the move. This will include upgraded kitchen equipment, increased secure storage for client belongings, children's programming space, upgraded phone system and building security, office equipment and program supplies, among other items. We are thrilled that we will finally be able to put these donations to use and that they will allow us to settle into our new home as quickly as we can. We are grateful to our community who through their unwavering support, have made this possible for us.
What will happen with 263 Bridge Ave?
The Centre board is deeply committed to ensuring that 263 Bridge Ave continues to support the west end community. The board will be spending time in 2021 determining how to best utilize this space in 2022.
What will happen with the existing Isolation Recovery Centre (IRC)?
The existing IRC is currently operating at 500 Tuscarora Ave. Its services will be relocating during the fall of 2021 to allow for building renovations to begin. The IRC’s new location is currently being determined by the City of Windsor to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness who are at risk or have tested positive for COVID-19.
What services will you offer?
The Centre will continue to offer emergency shelter for women and families, housing search support, transitional housing support, drop-in programming for women, children’s support programming, community partnerships, and harm reductive services in partnership with Pozitive Pathways. We will also be introducing on-site medical support for clients as well as pet-friendly services.
What will happen to Patsy's Place?
Patsy's Place child’s programming will continue to exist in its new home on the second floor of 500 Tuscarora Ave. It will be fully staffed and ready to support children upon our move.
A plan for the future use of the Pasty’s Place trailer and how it will best serve the needs of our clients moving forwards will be determined by the board by early 2022.
Will you be pet friendly?
Yes. There will be 6 designated pet friendly shelter rooms. The agency is very excited to add this space, removing a long-known barrier to women and families accessing shelter.
How can I help?
Follow us on social media, share our posts, and spread the word to others in your network. As our move progresses, we will be sharing all our volunteer needs on our Facebook page. Be sure to follow us to keep updated.
If you’d like to make a financial contribution, we would greatly appreciate it. Our donors help to ensure that we continue to provide valuable services to women and families within the community. You can make a one time or reoccurring donation here.
For any media inquiries, please contact:
Welcome Centre Shelter For Women and Families
Manager of Homelessness and Housing Support
The Corporation of the City of Windsor