Our History

History of the Inn

How We Started

Established in 2010 as a response to homelessness in the community, The INN exists to serve those facing challenges relating to homelessness in the St. Thomas-Elgin, aged 16 years and older. Each evening a warm bed, hot dinner, clothing, personal care items, shower, laundry, limited storage, breakfast, and access to staff support is provided to each guest visiting our 40-bed shelter (increased from 30 beds during COVID). Access to transportation and medication is also provided as needed.

Beyond meeting these basic needs, our program is focussing on reducing barriers that prevent our guests from obtaining stable housing. As we work to assist guests with replacing lost identification, applying for financial assistance, housing applications, and connecting to community services, they are a step closer to finding a place of their own.

Our Covid Response

In response to COVID, the INN was asked by the City in April 2020 to manage a daytime drop-in centre in the downtown core to provide a safe, socially distanced place for those experiencing homelessness to access. Prior to COVID our guests would visit public spaces like libraries, arenas, and fast-food lobbies during the day to rest, use restrooms and seek refuge from the elements.

With COVID closing all these public places, a huge gap was left that became a crisis for those experiencing homelessness. Those experiencing homelessness suddenly became much more visible on our streets. Access to restrooms, computers, telephone, TV, snacks, beverages, staff, and community resources became available at the drop-in centre.

Expanding our Overnight Shelter

Overnight shelter services were also expanded to year-round at the onset of COVID, a goal that our board was working toward that became a necessity and reality during the pandemic. The large numbers of people utilizing the services at the daytime centre as well as at the shelter, was indicative that more supports to those experiencing homelessness were needed and welcomed.

Renovations are underway in a city owned building, acquired through a provincial grant, that will house The INN as a combined overnight shelter and drop-in space offering 24/7 services in the fall 2021.

Moving to our Current Location

With the move to the new amalgamated site in January 2022, we continue to build relationships with community service providers and groups who can assist with moving people towards housing.

Some of these services include CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services staff for street support, social rehab and system navigation and addictions support, medical clinics by Central Community Health Centre, peer support teams, staff from St. Leonard's Community Services, Ontario Works Program, Housing and Homelessness Services, and various teams from Southwestern Public Health.

Reach out Today!

If you are looking to get in touch for shelter support, fundraising, ways to donate, how to volunteer or any other topic related to our program and services. We are here to assist.