Out Of Poverty Society (Guelph)

40 Baker Street, Guelph, Ontario 

at 40 Baker Street, Guelph, Ontario

Out Of Poverty Society (Guelph) Inc.
in association with Room For Us and
Friends of the Unemployed, Needy and Dispossessed!

Donation Amount

Fresh Start Housing Centre
Baker Street Art Gallery
Our Place Youth Circle

The Onion and The Ivy
Produced by Susie Q. Artworks Inc.
40 Baker Street, Guelph, Ontario N1H 4G1

Dedicated to Bill Creary
gone but impossible to forget.


Abbeyfield Houses Society of Guelph is the incorporated charity which sponsors Fresh Start Housing Centre, Our Place Youth Centre and the Baker Street Art Gallery. This sponsorship is conducted through an operating component known as Abbeyfield Guelph FUND (Friends of the Unemployed, Needy and Dispossessed).

Fresh Start Services & Programs

Fresh Start Housing Centre opened in February 1995 with grant support from the Ontario Ministry of Housing. Some years later funding was downloaded from the province to Wellington County. Three years ago County funding was re-allocated to its own services and Fresh Start has subsequently been sponsored entirely by Abbeyfield. In the past three years the range of services provided by Fresh Start has expanded and include but are not limited to:

• Sandwiches and hot meals from 10 am until 4 pm Monday to Friday

• Free public access high speed internet computers

• listings for all non-profit rental places including address, telephone numbers, contact people, and updates on their informational meetings

• the Common Application for non-profit housing in Guelph/Wellington and help filling it out

• information on housing co-ops in Guelph and how to get in touch with them

•listings from classified ads in all local papers, updated daily

•listings from our unique landlord contact list

• staff to sit with you, document your problems and point you in a direction that might be new to you

• assistance with housing issues, mediation and advocacy related to evictions, unsafe conditions, landlord tenant issues

• a copy of the Residential Tenancy Act, including notices and applications.

• special phones available to call landlords (local or long distance)

• contact information on housing resource centres in other cities

• community information and contact numbers for other helpful agencies and groups

• information on emergency housing, food and clothing

Our Place Youth Centre

In June 2007 the Change Now Youth Centre and shelter closed down, suddenly and without warning or explanation. In response to obvious and dramatic need Our Place Youth Centre was opened in early August 2007 to bridge the gap in service.

Our Place is a safe, supervised space where young people can gather in a respectful and accepting environment. Our Place offers snacks and meals from 1 pm until 7 pm Monday to Friday, refuge, medical attention and support in its close association with Fresh Start and the Baker Street Art Gallery and provides contact with a wide range of other services.

Our Place aspires to empower each young person to be the best she or he can possibly be -- for themselves and their future, using the qualities and talents they already have or those waiting to be realized.

Our Shelter Network

We have three houses connected to the people and work of Our Place in association with Room For Us (Wellington) Inc. These form the beginning of a strong and supportive shelter network for young people in need of safe and respectful accommodation.

At the heart of Our Shelter Network are homes on Arthur Street North, Paisley Road and Gordon Street in which we can and do accommodate up to 25 young people, one month at a time. Many of the residents in our shelter network are graduates of the former Change Now Youth Shelter and of the existing Wyndham House Youth Emergency Shelter.

Baker Street Art Gallery

The Gallery is a place where the youth who frequent Our Place and Fresh Start can drop in on weekends to talk, create art and grab a snack. It's a place to meet new people. Media coverage of the Gallery has been positive as demonstrated in some of the following comment:

"The essence of what the gallery is all about is the empowerment of ourselves and our spirits in such a Barbie doll society focused on physical appearance”.

What's really awesome about this space is we all work together. The kids who come to the youth centre Our Place (on weekdays) come in and sit and paint on weekends.

These young people, as well as friends and people who come to look at the art, are looking to add to their portfolios, while others do it for their personal reasons,

New artist Terri Currie said she's become "addicted" to coming to Baker Street Art Gallery.

"I love it here. It's a safe place to be where you're not judged," she said.

She's been coming to the gallery for the two years it's been open.

Anyone who wants to come in and paint is welcome. The donated supplies are on hand for anyone.

Some 15 local artists display their work in the space. Every weekend many young people are present in the gallery painting and producing other expressions of their creativity.

All at 40 Baker Street in Guelph

Abbeyfield Houses Society of Guelph purchased, upgraded and renovated the property at 40 Baker Street to provide a home for Freshstart and Our Place Youth Centre and the Baker Street Art Gallery – and as well now provides a home to other separately incorporated charitable organizations such as Ed Video, Chalmers Community Service Centre, Room For Us (Wellington) and Matrix Affordable Homes. As commercial tenants these latter organizations provide a sustainable economic base which in turn permits Abbeyfield Guelph FUND to act as an incubator for programs such as Fresh Start, Our Place Youth Centre, Our Shelter Network, and the Baker Street Art Gallery.