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The number of people experiencing homelessness in Canada has grown since the mid-90s to an estimated 235,000 people in 2016.


Barrie is no exception, with the 4th highest rental prices in the country, slim vacancy rates and over 550 individuals identified in Simcoe County as experiencing homelessness during the 2018 Homelessness Survey.


This homelessness crisis has had a significant impact on drop-in centres, local shelters, community foodbanks, the judicial and hospital systems and Barrie’s downtown core.




The David Busby Centre is a solutions-focused social service organization that facilitates meaningful support and programming, while working with collaborative partners to enhance accessible multi-disciplinary supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.


Over the last 20+ years the David Busby Centre and the Barrie Out of the Cold program have seen change happening in the lives of many people in our inner city daily. Thousands of people have walked through the doors of these organizations to find refuge from the elements, specifically from the harsh winters via the Barrie Out of the Cold program.


Some individuals and families come to us seeking a nutritious meal, shelter, a shower, fresh clothing and non-judgmental support. Others have nowhere to rest their weathered and beaten body, mind and spirit.


Some struggle with illness, disability, addictions, or feelings of rejection and loneliness. Everyone is looking for a compassionate hand up or a listening ear. Many are seeking a second, third or fourth chance.


When a friend or family member in our personal lives is going through hard times we invite them over to provide friendship and kindness.  We pull an extra chair up to the dinner table. If they need to stay over we find space for them to rest in order to face a new day with support and unconditional love.


Our organization strives to make each guest’s experience similarly welcoming and dignifying.

There’s a



During the 2018 Homelessness Survey our community identified 550+ people experiencing homelessness in Simcoe County, with the majority of those respondents being within the Barrie city limits.


This is a crisis that cannot be ignored. As a community we need to commit to ending homelessness through its only solution – housing and support.


We’re making room at 88 and we need your help.


Our vision is to enhance our existing services to operate a 24/7 social service hub facility that responds to our community’s homelessness crisis by providing housing focused programs, services and emergency group lodging.


Our mission is to create the shortest path from homelessness to permanent safe housing.


In the fall of 2014 the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) purchased 88-90 Mulcaster Street to serve as a social services hub under the Barrie Pathways to End Homelessness model. In phase one the David Busby Centre moved into the lower level of 88 Mulcaster Street in October 2014, with plans to commence the phase two expansion into the upper level within one year. However the phase two plan had to be put on hold to accommodate the uncontrollable relocation delay of the previous tenants until early May 2018.


We are now able to move forward with our phase two expansion plan and have signed a 20 year lease with CMHA for the entire building at 88 Mulcaster Street to do so. The plan to establish an enhanced shared social service facility will finally come to fruition and the renovations have commenced.

The Making Room at 88 expansion project will:


  • double the size of the existing 3,000 square foot space of the David Busby Centre
  • create emergency group lodging space (no longer relying on the generosity of area churches to offer rotating emergency shelter space through the winter)
  • align existing community capacity and provide enhanced services to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness.


We aim to assist everyone in finding the shortest path from homelessness to safe, affordable and sustainable housing, in collaboration with our many community partners.

We are raising $888,000

We’re fundraising to make room for our community members experiencing homelessness and we’re offering some exciting sponsorship opportunities to do it.




By supporting this very integral expansion project you are committing to the social innovation of a Shared Social Services Facility and helping to change the lives of many people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Barrie. We anticipate that we will serve over 8,000 individuals and families over the next 5 years. Therefore for every $10,000 donated, which is only $1.25 per person, you will have positively impacted many lives on their path from homelessness to housing.


Please consider making a donation and/or offering a product or service discount in exchange for a Gift In-Kind Income Tax receipt in support of this very important community project. For more information please contact Sara Peddle at 705-794-7499 or email


Your contribution will be instrumental in helping construct an expanded facility that includes a drop-in resource centre, a variety of clinical supports, housing-focused emergency group lodging, access to supportive housing and progressive services centered to help people transition back into safe homes, jobs and the community.