Supportive Housing for Adults

Many people think of homelessness as those living on the streets, in parks, in doorways and in other public places.  However, the “hidden homeless” – an estimated 80% of those without a place to call home – are much less visible.  Consider the person who moves from friend to friend and relative to relative while seeking affordable housing.  Or the woman who accepts housing from a man, even in dangerous situations, rather than be on the street.  This is a reality for many living in our community with adults couch surfing, sleeping in vehicles and sleeping rough.  Homelessness is multi-dimensional, and many studies identify several intersecting factors such as: poverty, domestic violence, immigration, addiction, mental health and intergenerational trauma, particularly affecting Indigenous people.  During a 2019 Period Prevalence Count 159 people were identified in St. Thomas-Elgin County as experiencing homelessness.

Because of this, the YWCA has been providing safe and affordable housing since 1928. Our adult residences include: Second Story (ages 18+) and Women’s Residence (ages 16+)

What does the program offer?

  • A place to call home, private bedrooms
  • Communal living spaces (bathroom, kitchen, & two comfortable living rooms)
  • An onsite Resident Advisor & peer support
  • Emergency food & toiletries are available as needed
  • In-house programs including tutoring, literacy, computer training and life skills workshops  
  • Housing-based case management, focusing on individualized service plans, & strengths-based approaches
  • System navigation & service referrals

Funding provided by

United Way Elgin Middlesex

We’re here to help

Women (16+ years old)

Women’s homelessness is often invisible and complex.  Without a roof over their heads and a door to lock safely behind them, women are at risk of physical, emotional and psychological harm.

Established in 1928, YWCA Women’s Residence in downtown St. Thomas is a warm and inviting 21 bed facility that provides, transitional and long-term housing for women from all parts of Elgin County.

Who is Eligible for this program?

Our demographics range in age from young individuals who identify as female or non-binary (minimum age 16) to those in their senior years and from all walks of life. Individuals must be open to living communally, and in a community atmosphere.

Learn about our Supportive Housing for Youth.

Men (18+ years old)
Men come to the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin from all walks of life with the common need of stability and affordable living. Many male residents struggle with poverty, mental health, disabilities, substance use and relationship breakdown.   

Establish in 2010, Second Story in downtown St. Thomas is a communal residence with 7 private bedrooms that provides transitional and long-term housing for men from all parts of Elgin County.

Who is Eligible for this program?

Our demographics range in age from young individuals who identify as male or non-binary (minimum age 18) to those in their senior years. Individuals must be open to living communally, and in a community atmosphere.

Learn about our Supportive Housing for Youth.

Women-led Families

A gap of knowledge about family homelessness often exists because families across Canada often experience hidden homelessness – staying with friends, family members, doubled up without legal tenure to the housing, and in unsafe and sometimes violent housing situations. 

This one-year pilot project will provide short-term respite accommodations to women-led families for up to three months. Women-led families will work with their supports to safely transition into independent living accommodations. The location of the home is in a quiet complex, close to an EarlyON Centre, with a variety store next door, beautiful outdoor parks/spaces, close to a bus route, and only a 10-minute walk to downtown St. Thomas. The home is fully furnished and has been set-up in a way that supports varying family units, based on the number of dependents, and specific needs of each family. The house has the capacity to home two unique families at the same time, when it is safe and feasible to do so. Program fees will be collected based on the income of the families, number of dependents, and ability to pay. Service model supports will assist families in sourcing out program fees, and housing stability resources as needed.

What does the program offer?

  • Provide safe place for women-led families to rest their heads
  • A transitional place to call home with private bedrooms
  • Communal living spaces
  • A family-centred approach/keep and avoid family separation.
  • Supports to quickly wrap resources around the family and potentially divert them from homelessness.
  • Emergency food & toiletries are available as needed
  • Housing-based case management, focusing on individualized service plans, & strengths-based approaches
  • Family-centred case conferences
  • System navigation & service referrals
  • Access to housing stability resources

Who is Eligible for this program?

Women (16+) and their dependants who need temporary transitional respite accommodation. The families must be open to living communally and be working with a support worker towards housing and life stability.

Learn about our Supportive Housing for Youth.

A Place Called Home - Aug 2023

A Place Called Home (2023)

This report outlines the research regarding family homelessness, current resources, and activities as well as evidence-informed recommendations to enhance family-centred approaches to preventing and reducing family homelessness in St. Thomas-Elgin. Presented by the Women & Family Housing Stability Advisory Group.

Womens Homelessness Survey

Women's Homelessness Survey

Data collection with surveys and focus groups in an effort to better understand the realities of women experiencing homelessness in our community.

By Names List+Coordinated Access Process Guide_2023

By Names List & Coordinated Access Process Guide

Version 1.0 includes policies, protocols, and more context surrounding what a By Names List and Coordinated Access are, and how to access in St. Thomas Elgin. As well, a system-wide set of tools and information to help folxs find, secure, and sustain housing. 

Lisa’s journey

A reflection of the Housing Supports offered through the YWCA.  Struggling with generational poverty, abuse and addictions, at age 48 Lisa was referred to the YWCA St. Thomas Elgin by her continuing education teacher. Lisa was trying to make changes in an environment...

Natalie’s journey

The YWCA gave me the opportunity to start over and choose a better life.

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