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  1. The David Busby Centre opened its doors March 1, 1993 under the name of ‘Barrie Street Centre’. The founder Mandy Hilliard spent more than two years visiting over 70 churches, businesses, service providers, health care professionals and community members; asking them the same questions she had been asking herself: Are there homeless people in Simcoe County, and if so would a drop-in Centre help? Mandy had a positive response, and an energetic steering committee was formed who worked diligently to create the ‘Barrie Street Centre’.
    On the first day that the Centre opened one person came… On the second day three came… On the third day five showed up. The Centre continued to grow daily, until they knew it would be a mainstay in our community

  2. In November of 1994, it was decided to use the name ‘David Busby Street Centre’ in honour of the Reverend Canon David Busby, a man of tremendous passion and energy who had made a career of helping the less fortunate. He was the recently retired incumbent of Trinity Anglican Church, the home of the Centre. David had a career of helping the “little guy” and the marginalized in society. To Mandy, he was an inspiration and a great teacher. David very modestly signed the legal papers for the Street Centre to use his name. Nine days later Rev. Canon David Busby died tragically in a plane crash in the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean. He will always remain at the heart of the Centre and the work done each day is a tribute to the way he chose to live his life.

  3. In 1995, the Centre was officially incorporated as ‘David Busby Street Centre’. By this time the Centre now had approximately 9,000 visits per year and had evolved into much more than a drop-in program; it was providing foot care, nursing care, advocacy, assistance with government forms, use of telephone, psycho-social support, pre and post-natal support, legal advice, and assistance in meeting social and recreational needs.

  4. By 1997 the Centre had grown to approximately 13,000 visits. The need was identified for services to go beyond the walls of the Centre, and a Street Outreach Program was born. This enabled the workers to meet those who couldn’t make it to the Centre during regular hours, and was extremely popular.

  5. In 1999, the David Busby Centre would be one of the service providers offering a Needle Exchange Program. This Harm Reduction Model, operated by Simcoe Muskoka District County Health Unit, continues to this day with the David Busby Centre being the largest distributor of the program in Simcoe County.

  6. The turn of the millennium saw many more changes, the most exciting of which was the addition of outreach services from an Outreach Van Program, providing those experiencing homelessness or precarious housing with dinners, clothing, blankets, coats, needle exchange services and information about community services.

  7. By 2003 the City needed a Central Intake Program to direct individuals experiencing homelessness to the shelters and then to Barrie ‘Out of the Cold’. With funding from the County of Simcoe the David Busby Centre to run the Central Intake Program.

  8. In 2008 the DBSC received funding from the County of Simcoe to implement a Case Management Program for individuals they served.

  9. 2014 was an exciting year, as the David Busby Centre found their new home with help from many agencies, the City of Barrie, and the County of Simcoe. The new Centre at 88 Mulcaster Street was bigger, brighter, and more accessible to participants.

  10. 2017 is the David Busby Centre’s 25th anniversary, and the growth since the small beginnings of a drop-in program in 1993 are remarkable and inspiring. What a difference from the first week of 5 visits, to over 65,000 visits in 2017. We anticipate the growth to continue as the City of Barrie continues to grow. The population in Simcoe County is expected to double in the next 25 years. We have seen continual increase in growth every year since the inception of the David Busby Centre.