What are we going to do this winter – 2020


A new infographic showing shelter options and ways to access shelter click here:

As a Built-for-Zero Community, Durham Region’s homelessness support system has been working collaboratively to develop housing-focused programming for the winter to support people who are living unsheltered.

Our goal is to move from providing shelter for people in the winter to engaging and supporting them through shelter opportunities that will lead to ongoing housing year round. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for 24/7 shelter locations that provide the ability to isolate in place and are focused on helping people find housing. Every indoor location provided will have an increased emphasis both on infection prevention and control, and on help to obtain housing.

There are uncertainties about what our housing system capacity and needs will be as the winter and the second wave of COVID-19 progresses. We believe it will be important for our system to be adaptive and responsive to the needs in our community.

In addition to the programming described below:

-Both of the Community Hubs, in Ajax and Oshawa, have now been extended funding to operate until March 31, 2021, as well as the Durham Region Isolation and Recovery Program.

-CAREA has also been provided with funding for their Welcoming Streets program.


Hard copies of the Warming Locations brochure are now available and can be picked up at the Backdoor Mission – Bagot Street door, between 10 am and 3 pm Monday to Friday. They are intended to provide you with a resources for distribution to people you serve so that they have the essential Warming Locations information that they need.


The Cold Weather Response protocol starts November 15, 2020 and ends on April
1, 2021.

When temperatures are expected to drop below minus 15 degrees Celsius or minus 20 degrees with wind chill; or if severe winter conditions are anticipated during the next 24 to 36 hours, the Region puts in place its Cold Weather Response Protocol. When the Protocol is in place, homeless shelters can expand their capacity to accommodate more people. These expanded services may include increasing bed space by using cots, mats and hotel rooms, and staying open during the day.

Extreme Cold – Region of Durham provides more information about the Region of Durham Cold Weather response system and links to request addition to cold weather notifications.


Homeless shelters are continuing to use hotel spaces to maintain capacity while following physical distancing.

Homeless shelters in Durham Region are housing focused and will also help people look for housing.

Housing-Focused shelter programs usually have space available. To enquire about available space call:

Cornerstone: 905-433-0292

Muslim Welfare Home: 866-666-1115

Durham Youth Services: 905-239-9477

Updated Oct. 21st

Eligibility for the family shelter program through Cornerstone is expanded to accommodate couples. Eligibility is below:

-A couple with demonstrated co-residency (on the same OW/ODSP benefit unit for the last year or married/common law etc) who:

-Is a 55+senior couple

-Has a demonstrated extenuating situation in which one person is clearly required as a care giver in the relationship that would require being sheltered together.

– Is expecting a child.

Couples in the Emergency shelter program would be required to meet all the other requirements of the program.

OVERNIGHT STREET OUTREACH WARMING CENTRE PROGRAM New Life Community Centre – 33 Olive Ave. OshawaUpdated Oct. 21st

An overnight warming location will be at the New Life Community Centre and operated by First Light Foundation of Hope.

Beginning November 15th it will be open 7 nights a week from 10 pm to 6 am.
Guests will be physically distanced on yoga mats and will be offered light refreshments.

Capacity is 15 people. Admission will be on a first come first serve basis at 33 Olive Street. No prior registration is required for this location.
For information please contact info@foundationofhope.com

Warming Location/Drop In
454 Simcoe St. South
Updated Jan. 19th

Open 10:00 pm to 8:00 am, 7 days a week.
– Hot meals and drinks will be available between 7 pm and 10 pm
-Sleeping is not available, but indoor rest is, in keeping with current COVID-19 regulations.
– 20 people capacity at one time. Will rotate guests to ensure
everyone has a chance to come inside.
– One Way Ministries will be serving meals Wednesdays and Fridays

Most days DUO will be open but on occasion they do randomly close for an additional day or two due to limited volunteer roster.

Updated Oct. 21st

Starting Nov 1, 2020, CFOC-DOC (Christian Faith Outreach Centre-Doors of Compassion) will be expanding its drop-in centre to include a 20 bed low barrier housing-focused emergency shelter.

We are located in the downtown core of Ajax at 158 Harwood Ave. S. CFOC-DOC (partner agency for IOTC Camp Samac) can be accessed through screening at any two of the partnering community hubs located in Ajax and Oshawa.

The shelter will be open 24/7 and will accommodate up to 20 individuals 18 years or older. Guests will receive 3 meals, snacks, beverages, a bed and access to showers and laundry. As a housing focused shelter, guests will also have access to community supports such as OW and ODSP, house search assistance through community partners like The Salvation Army, crisis supports, ID replacement and spiritual care.

Ajax Hub Hours:

Ajax Community Centre:
Monday & Tuesday: 9am – 1pm
75 Centennial Road 905-427-8811
McLean Community Centre:
Friday: 9am – 11am
95 Magill Drive 905-428-7711

Oshawa Hub Hours:

Back Door Mission
Daily from 9am – 4pm
66 Simcoe Street South (Bagot Street entrance) 905-728-4664

For more information please contact:
doc@cfoc.ca or call 905.619.1109

Temporary Change effective November 2020 – meal support: CFOC-DOC is open Mon to Fri from 5pm – 7pm & Sat/Sun 12:00pm – 4pm for a bagged meal handout.

For the time being, we will not be admitting anyone who is not a guest here into the building at this time.


As new cases of COVID-19 have been showing an upwards trend, it is important to ensure there is capacity to provide space for people to be isolated either while waiting for test results or while recovering.

People who are suspected of having COVID-19 pending COVID-19 test results, or who are confirmed positive may be referred to the Durham Isolation and Recovery Program provided they meet the following admission criteria:

Residency: Must be a resident of Durham Region.

Age: Must be 16 years of age or older

Homelessness Status in the following physical living situations:

-Unsheltered – living on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation

-Emergency Shelters – staying in homeless shelters or warming centers


Patient must consent voluntarily to up to 14-day admission to the Isolation and Recovery Program. Patient must sign the consent before a referral can be made.

Independence: Must be capable of completing activities of daily living with minimal support or supervision and ambulatory (Note: may utilize assistive devices for ambulation). For access to the DRIP program please contact:

Updated Oct. 28th

Effective immediately, North House will be offering a temporary winter motel program. Due to the lack of emergency shelter in north Durham, North House will be offering a Motel Program for those living unsheltered or that are provisionally housed. In order to access the North House Motel Program, the individual in need must be referred by their worker as this program is not available to the general public.

The program can accommodate up to a maximum of a three-week stay for each client based on need. Funding for this program is limited and will end once funds have been exhausted. Should a family require access to the Motel Program, their worker should contact North House staff directly prior to sending the Motel Program Referral Form as the motel may not be able to accommodate a larger number of people. If the referral source has the ability to transport the client to the motel, they should do so once the client is approved. If a client is unable to find transportation to the motel, North House and referring agency will work together to find a solution.

Required forms (can be obtained by calling 289-640-1929 ext. 102):

  • Consent to Release Information
  • HIFIS Consent Form
  • Motel Program Referral Form
  • Motel Program Agreement
  • Motel Program Update Form (only for referral agencies offering housing support)

How to Access the Motel Program
Agencies without housing support services

  • Obtain Consent to Release Information and HIFIS Consent
  • Fill out Motel Program Referral Form
    Fax above documents to 905-852-4606
  • If approved, North House staff process a new client intake, fill out the Motel Program Agreement and place the client at the motel
  • Client becomes North House client to work toward housing

Agencies that provide housing support services

  • Obtain Consent to Release Information and HIFIS Consent
  • Fill out Motel Program Referral Form
  • Fax above documents to 905-852-4606
  • If approved, North House will connect with the referring caseworker to fill out a Motel Program Agreement with their client, then the individual will be placed into the motel
  • The client’s caseworker will be responsible to do daily check-ins while in the motel. Please ensure the client has access to food and monitor
  • for damages
  • The client’s caseworker must be working vigorously to find permanent housing as the motel program length of stay is limited
  • At least two days prior to the end of the week of their stay, the client’s caseworker must connect with North House to communicate if the client will be leaving the motel, or to make us aware if another week is required.
  • If another week is required, the referring agency must inform North House of their plan to house the individual prior to the end of their three-week stay maximum.
  • At the end of each week, including the last week, please fill out a Motel Program Update Form and fax to 905-852-4606

UPDATE: North House recently announced a Temporary Winter Motel Program. As referrals and questions are coming in, we recognize there has been some confusion around the program. To clarify, the Motel Program is for individuals that are already in north Durham who are unsheltered, or provisionally housed, meaning their living accommodations are sub-standard. For example, this could be an individual living in their vehicle, living in an abandoned space or in a trailer that lacks the basic necessities of life. This program is not meant to be a replacement for a shelter in the north but rather a way for those in north Durham to be sheltered on cold winter nights as there are no existing spaces in the north that would allow someone to safely stay out of the elements. North Durham has few motels so access to the program, or larger rooms for families, could be impeded due to lack of available space. Please note that unfortunately pets cannot be accommodated through the Motel Program as per the rules of the motel. If you should need the use of th program, please fill out the attached referral form and send it to jessicabarbuto@northhouse.ca


Every 2nd Friday
9:30 to 3:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
209 Cochrane St. Whitby

Nov 6th Christmas hampers registration STARTS
Nov 13th Christmas hampers registration
Nov 20th Christmas hampers registration
Nov 27nd Christmas hampers registration ENDS
Dec 4th
THURSDAY DECEMBER 10th – Christmas Hamper Pick up 9:30-3:00pm
Dec 11th
Dec 18th
Dec 25th CLOSED
Jan 1st
Jan 8th

See poster below:

St. Andrews Community
Outreach Program
209 Cochrane St. Whitby

Every Friday in November 9:30-3:00pm
Nov. 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
Please come to the BACK DOOR
Winter clothing in adult, youth, children and infant sizes

No appointment necessary
**For more information please call 905-668-4022 or email: standrewswhitby@bellnet.ca
(With the support of the Caremongers groups of Oshawa and Whitby)

See poster below:

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