The David Busby Street Centre (DBSC) was founded in 1993 by Mandy Hillyard; a registered nurse for 32 years, who switched her focus in the 1990’s to work with individuals with low incomes, the homeless and those living in poverty.  While working with those who are less fortunate, Mandy felt there should be a place for the poor and the homeless to go to in the City of Barrie.  She went to over 70 churches, businesses, service providers, health care professionals and community members to ask the question: Are there homeless people in Simcoe County and if so would a drop-in centre be beneficial for them?  Armed with a resounding “Yes”, she formed a small but energetic steering committee and its members worked diligently to create a drop-in centre to provide services and programs to this vulnerable population.  In 1993 she co-founded the David Busby Street Centre with Reverend Canon David Busby of Trinity Anglican Church, a tremendous man who made a career of helping the less fortunate and providing the lower level space of his church at 24 Collier Street for Mandy’s Vision.  Mr. Busby died suddenly in a plane crash shortly thereafter but his memory and vision still lives on.  

Within the first year of operation the Centre had 500 visits; 

By 1996 the Centre had grown to 13,000 visits per year and evolved into much more than a drop-in programme. It was providing foot care, nursing care, advocacy, assistance with government forms, use of telephone, psycho-social support, pre and post-natal support and assistance in meeting social and recreational needs. The need was identified for services to go beyond the walls of the Centre and a street outreach program was developed to enable our workers to meet those who did not make it to the Street Centre during regular hours – including the working poor.  

Today, our team consists of 4 full-time and 3 part-time staff, 2 part-time seasonal workers, 1 part-time administrator.  Further, we have a part-time Nurse Practitioner funded through the Victorian Order of Nurses and a part-time housing worker funded through Simcoe Community Services and more than 40 volunteers currently support approximately 38,000 visits per year.