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At Fresh Start, I discovered that people can show love to people they don’t even know. I had never even thought of that before. It changed everything for us.

The programs I accessed at Fresh Start brought repressed trauma from abuse to the surface. I learned how my brain works there, and how to work with it. I now use the strategies I learned to help my children deal with the challenges they face from their past. Kindness is contagious, but it has to start somewhere.

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There is currently a housing crisis in Elgin-St. Thomas with over 1100 people waiting for social housing. But, there is a hidden group of people not even on this list. Mothers will often choose to stay in abusive situations to avoid taking their children to shelter or the street. These are the women Fresh Start Support Services empowers. Instead of helping them to get on a housing wait list, we are building them a house ourselves, so women can experience the dignity of their own home within a safe community. We are calling it a House of Homes. 

Mother Holding Baby

It’s where I learned

to let people in.

And when that happened, I wasn’t replacing

loneliness with

drugs any more.

Our House of Homes will be a three-story dwelling, containing 12 apartments, a large communal space, and some offices. Three apartments will be fully accessible, and all common areas barrier free. Moreover, in partnership with the city's Women & Family Housing Stability Advisory Group, two apartments will be designated for women-led families experiencing acute homelessness. Renderings of our new House of Homes can be found below.

I was pregnant at sixteen and my parents were not supportive. I discovered Fresh Start when they hosted a parenting class at the library. Despite my — as I see it

in hindsight — terrible attitude, Fresh Start never quit on me. Now I am going to college. They showed me a path in life I had never seen before, not just as a mom, but as a person

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By supporting this year’s House of Homes capital campaign, you join a group of people committed to creating safe, supported homes. You join us in fostering the notion of home in the larger sense — the community sense — as a place where even strangers care for one another, and prosperity is the reward for prioritizing people. Join us in building a House of Homes so that vulnerable women with a terrible past can gain a fresh start and build a brand-new future for their children.

Mom and a Child

They got through to me where no one else had.

I am seven years clean.

I have my family.

I have my own business.

I have my faith.

Donate TODAY to help us build a House of Homes to provide housing and parenting stability for more families

Donations can be made by:

Laptop and Phone

E-TRANSFER

An e-transfer can be sent to financials@fsms.ca

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CHEQUE

A cheque can be mailed to

PO Box 51, St. Thomas PO Main, ON N5P 3T5

or dropped off during business hours at

797 Talbot Street, St Thomas

If donating by cheque or e-transfer, please specify if it's for the House of Homes campaign.100% of proceeds go towards our new House of Homes.

or online below:
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THANK YOU FOR PARTNERING WITH US!

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HOUSE OF HOME RENDERINGS

APARTMENT UNITS

We are very excited to share the apartment layout and 3D renderings for our House of Homes project! The new three story building will consist of twelve two-bedroom apartments, with three of these units being fully accessible. Our prayer is that these spaces would become a place of healing and hope for all of the families who will come to live here, as they begin their fresh start.

COMMUNITY ROOM LAYOUT

The Community Room in our House of Homes will be a multifunctional space that includes a kitchen, play area and hang out spot for the families who will be living at the home. This space will also serve as a space for programming and groups including cooking classes, art therapy and mom and baby groups.

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Asbestos abatement and remediation of old group home finalized (February 9, 2023);

  • Demolition permit obtained (February 22, 2023); 

  • Complete demolition of old building (Finalized March 24, 2023); 

  • Finalize drawings and SPA by construction team (in progress; expecting to complete June 1, 2023);

  • Apply for building permit (June 2023);

  • Build new 12-unit apartment dwelling with additional communal program space and offices (breaking ground Fall 2023, running to Fall 2024);

  • Select 10 families for our transitional housing program (in partnership with Coordinated Access St. Thomas-Elgin and other local partners, Fall 2024);

  • Dedicate 2 units to emergency housing for women-led families experiencing acute homelessness (in partnership with Coordinated Access St. Thomas-Elgin, and Women & Family Housing Stability Advisory Group St. Thomas);

WHERE WELCOME CAN CHANGE WORLDS

90

families applied for services at Fresh Start in 2021

66

families were looking for homelessness or housing insecurity supports

28

was the average age of the mothers that requested support

46

families felt where they were living was unsafe for themselves or their children

336

formal group and individual programming sessions were offered

24

families did not have supports from another agency

70

families applied to live at Fresh Start

44

families attended parenting and regulation & co-regulation programming

28

families were looking for help with their children’s development

20

families were looking for addictions supports

36

families needed help navigating the social support system

30

families were looking for supports after domestic violence

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