Homelessness exists in Pembroke and Area. Prior to 2022 January 01, with the help of provincial COVID-19 relief funding to support two term positions, The Grind was able to assist Ontario Works by operating an after-hours toll-free Crisis Line in Renfrew County for homeless referrals to motels. We were also able, with a leased van, to undertake wellness checks of homeless individuals to ensure their safety during periods of intense heat or cold. At the same time, Grind staff were able to provide for their basic needs, including food, water, clothing, blankets etc.

Due to funding restraints, these services were discontinued effective 2021 December 31 and replaced by Ontario Works’ After-Hours Crisis Line. In 2022 January, the County of Renfrew approved another Grind funding application to cover the costs of operating a Warming Centre to provide a warm, safe place for the homeless. This service began on 2022 February 03 and will run until March 31. Homeless individuals will be able to access warm beverages, snacks, washrooms and referrals to community services daily.

Community Impact

• Crisis Line calls from 2020 July – 2021 December – 1389
• Referrals to motels from 2021 January – December – 127
• Wellness checks from 2020 January – 2021 December – 911

Currently, The Grind provides the following services to the homeless:

• Food and beverages including the lunch take-out service;
• Hygiene products;
• Appropriate clothing and footwear in partnership with local thrift shops;
• Referrals to other community services;
• Wellness checks of homeless individuals living outdoors;
• Warming Centre from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Monday – Sunday until the end of 2022 March.

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 homeless 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. – 10:00 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.