City announces details on new shelter for women and families opening in 2022

Mayor Drew Dilkens announces details on a new shelter for women and families in Windsor, Ont., on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

City of Windsor officials announced plans for an emergency shelter for woman and families experiencing homelessness.

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens was with City of Windsor commissioner of Human and Health Services Jelena Payne, and Welcome Centre executive director Lady Laforet on Friday to officially announce plans to open a new shelter for women and families in early 2022 that will be led by the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families.

The organization provides short-term emergency shelter and transitional supports to women and families with minors who are experiencing homelessness.

“Establishing a dedicated emergency shelter for women and families was outlined as a key priority for our community through the City of Windsor’s 2020 Review of Emergency Shelter Services and, as a result of the contribution from the Province, the City of Windsor will create a new, safe space for persons experiencing homelessness,” said Dilkens.

The purchase of the new building was made possible thanks in part to a $7.75-million contribution from the provincial government’s Social Services Relief Fund.

“This is the first designated shelter for families in the region, and we are grateful for the provincial government’s investment to bring this long overdue initiative to fruition. This investment provides for a safe and supportive environment for women and families experiencing homelessness,” said Payne.

Laforet is optimistic the new location has many of the assets the centre was looking for to help the families they work with achieve successful outcomes.

“I think the new space will provide the advantages that we were looking for as an agency, which are keeping us close to the core where women and families are accessing services, and keeping us within walking distance to area parks that children can access,” said Laforet. “We look forward to building further relationships in the community and being a good neighbour.”

The Welcome Centre will enter into a Good Neighbour Agreement with surrounding residents and businesses in order to foster positive relationships. The agreement is intended to help enhance neighbourhood safety and develop clear expectations and procedures for resolving concerns.

It is also hoped that neighbours will build connections and working relationships with the Welcome Centre.

Officials say the Welcome Centre Shelter is an essential partner to reach the goals of the Windsor Essex Housing and Homelessness Master Plan, which seeks to reduce homelessness in Windsor and Essex County.