Homelessness exists in Renfrew County, although it is not as apparent as in larger urban centres. With no emergency shelters in the county for adults, The Grind, with the generous help of community donors, stepped up to the plate and constructed a small, three-bedroom Emergency Refuge in 2016 at the rear of its Coffee House.

This facility operated until September 1, 2018, when the Grind Board of Directors made a difficult decision dictated by the high labour costs of operating a small facility with no sustainable funding from government homelessness programs. In order to continue fulfilling its commitment to provide the homeless with a safe bed on an emergency basis, the Board elected to focus its Shelter Services on less expensive local motels.

The Grind’s Emergency Refuge has been repurposed and under an agreement with Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County, the facility now provides short-term emergency accommodations on an exclusive basis to adult clients of their Developmental Services Division.


During the period 2017 & 2018, the Grind Shelter Services arranged emergency accommodations for 157 homeless adults – 47 of whom were repeat clients. This represented a total of 288 client nights of accommodation. In 2019, emergency accommodations were arranged for 35 homeless clients.


Homeless adult community members can access The Grind’s Emergency Shelter Services via an after-hours phone referral system, monitored seven days a week when government offices funded by the provincial government’s homelessness funding program are closed.

Qualified callers can be provided with emergency shelter in a Pembroke motel until government offices open the following weekday. Due to limited resources, The Grind Pembroke cannot assist those who are repetitively homeless. We will, however, strive to connect them, as well as first time clients, to appropriate health and social service agencies for longer-term assistance.

Homeless on weekdays during business hours?

Help may be available from your nearest Ontario Works Office from Monday – Friday, between 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Homeless after business hours weeknights, weekends & statutory holidays?

Reach out to The Grind Pembroke between 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. by calling The Grind Pembroke After-Hours Emergency Line: 1-613-401-4890

During the Call, The Grind Shelter Services staff member responding to your request for emergency accommodations will determine your eligibility for service by asking you several questions, including to establish your identity (e.g. full name, I.D. registration numbers such as your S.I.N., health or driver’s registration number, available alternative sheltering option(s) etc. Acceptance as a client is not automatic. It will depend on your responses. Impairment due to alcohol or drug addiction, lack of cooperation to respond to questions, or aggressive demeanor are among the reasons for automatic refusal of service. Unless otherwise arranged, authorized motel accommodations are for a single person only – no roommates allowed! Local taxi service from downtown Pembroke to the motel and return the following business morning can be provided.

Homeless at other times?

Reach out to your nearest OPP detachment.

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.