Our History

  • In 2007, A group of Out of the Cold volunteers decided that mats on church floors were good to allow homeless people a place to sleep.
  • Formed a board, approached funders, developed a fundraising and publicity campaign
  • Applied to Region of Waterloo for some hands on support to help write funding applications
  • Found a development site which took over a year, obtained government and CMHC funding for a building
  • Conducted community meetings and responded to concerned community groups, i.e. ratepayers, daycare in area, etc.
  • Applied to LHIN (Local Health Integrated Network) for funding and were refused
  • Region of Waterloo stepped in with Domiciliary Care funding
  • Board developed by laws, terms of reference and participated in Board governance training
  • 30 1 bedroom apartments were completely outfitted by donations from the community
  • Interviewed and moved in 30 tenants, all individuals who had been homeless for up to 25 years
  • Sub contracted with YWCA for first 18 months of operation
  • Hired first Executive Director as of January 2012

What is a Harm Reduction Approach?

Harm Reduction

  • Severe hoarding has put the individual living in the dwelling, or living in the shared area at great risk
  • The risk of harm is high not only because the living environment is unsafe but also because the person lacks the physical and mental capacity to live in a highly cluttered environment safely
  • This interaction between an unsafe environment and poor functional capacity defines severe hoarding

(Tompkins & Hartl, 2009)


Harm Reduction Involves

  • Ensuring the person is kept safe and healthy
  • Making sure that high risk areas are identified and attended to
  • Providing for a new system to maintain organization and safety


Harm Reduction Does Not…

  • Stopping the acquiring all together
  • Curing the individual
  • Conduct large scale cleanups