Homelessness exists in Renfrew County, including in larger communities like Pembroke. Renfrew County isn’t unique in this respect – communities across Canada are also facing the same challenges in finding ways to assist those who, besides needing emergency shelter, often face serious mental and physical health issues, compounded by addictions.

The Grind Pembroke does not operate a homeless shelter. Homeless individuals in our community requiring emergency shelter can access the services of Ontario Works through the Provincial government’s Homelessness Prevention Program administered by the County of Renfrew.

For its part, The Grind Pembroke does what it can to help, within the mandate and resource base that constrains it. Here are a few examples of how, with the generous assistance of community members, organizations and agencies, The Grind is able to support the homeless.

  1. Provide wholesome lunches daily between Tuesday and Friday;
  2. Provide access to public washrooms, laundry service and shower access;
  3. Appropriate clothing, blankets, bedding, and hygiene packages;
  4. Weekly access to volunteer doctor for consultation and referral to needed medical resources (to access this service, homeless clients must be registered with The Grind client services office);
  5. Access to mental health addictions counsellors for consultation and referral to appropriate community and/or provincial resources;
  6. Access to Provincial Homelessness Prevention Program through referral to Ontario Works;
  7. Access to community health services, such as flu clinics, COVID inoculations and testing; and finally;
  8. Access to a Coffee House for hot and cold beverages and snacks daily from Tuesday – Friday;
  9. Out of the Cold Program (Winter of 2023) – refer to attached community impact statistics
    Final Report – Out of the Cold Program

Community Impact – 2022

The following assistance was provided:
On-going homeless client visits – 236 (average 20 per month)
New homeless client visits – 55 (average – 5 per month)

Transitional Housing

The Grind Pembroke, in partnership with Mental Health Services of Renfrew County, and with a generous grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health through Pembroke Regional Hospital, completed renovations of a donated two-storey house in Pembroke in May, 2020, to provide temporary housing for selected male clients of the agency.

This facility provides an assisted independent living option in a home setting for up to three residents at a time. Transition House also provides a crisis room with separate bathroom for emergency accommodations, and a self-contained caretaker’s suite. The occupancy of each client varies depending on their life circumstances –  the usual stay is up to 3-5 months duration.

While The Grind Pembroke owns and maintains the facility, Mental Health Services provides client in-take services as well as day-to-day client oversight. Generous community donations through fundraising, including grants from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (London, Ontario), assist with operational expenses. Clients contribute towards their own housing costs including for the purchase of food and other needed personal supplies.

Are you a homeless adult?

For emergency shelter services, contact local Ontario Works’ offices in Renfrew County: During business hours Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and after-hours seven days per week from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. by dialing

Are you an adult in mental health crisis?

To reach the Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7, dial 1-866-996-0991

Are you an adult in life-threatening crisis?

To reach police or ambulance emergency services 24/7, dial 9-1-1

Are you an abused adult woman in crisis?

To reach Bernadette McCann House’s Women’s Support / Crisis Line 24/7, dial 1-800-267-4930

Are you a homeless youth?

If you are a homeless youth between the ages of 16-21 years of age, assistance can be provided by Renfrew County Safe Shelter for Youth, a Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County-led initiative.

Tel: 1-800-267-5878 extension 0. Or visit www.fcsrenfrew.on.ca/community/renfrew-county-safe-shelter-for-youth for details.