The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women Has a New Site:

The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women creates a non-threatening, non-adversarial, comfortable, participatory and supportive environment for women in need of help as well as providing emergency shelter to women experiencing homelessness.
The new owners of this domain have chosen to keep archived content of this site and to point visitors to The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women's current website.
Content is from the site's 2013 - 2015 archived pages.

If you have inadvertently ended up here while searching for the Welcome Centre, go to:

The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women
Address: 263 Bridge Ave., Windsor, Ont. N9B 2M1
Telephone:  (519) 971 7595

Hours: open 24 hours daily
Drop-in hours:
Tuesday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.



The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women was established in 1989 and provides emergency shelter to women experiencing homelessness. Our name has changed this year (from The Well-Come Centre for Human Potential) to better identify our mission. The Welcome Centre offers programming to women 18 years of age or over to assist in ending the cycle of homelessness, poverty and violence.



In July of 1989, five women concerned about social justice and poverty issues came together to begin exploring the need for a women’s agency. During the following six months, a “needs” assessment was conducted and gaps in services were identified. The process of incorporation, obtaining non-profit status and developing fundraising initiatives was established. In February 1990, service delivery began at 142 McKay Avenue. Volunteers became a vital part of the organization.

The aim of the Centre was to create a non-threatening, non-adversarial, comfortable, participatory and supportive environment in which women felt a sense of empowerment. The staff defined empowerment as a model of social support that presented a joint endeavour by the client and staff to increase individual choice. The philosophy of the Centre’s model of support reflects a feminist perspective and this perspective has led to the development of a women-centered program based on the empowerment model.

As early as 1998, the Well-Come Centre for Human Potential was approached by the Social Services Department of the Corporation of the City of Windsor to provide emergency shelter to women experiencing homelessness. New quarters were purchased at 263 Bridge Avenue to replace former smaller quarters at 142 McKay Avenue. In January 2000, the Well-Come Home Women’s Shelter, under the umbrella organization of the Well-Come Centre for Human Potential, was created and began accepting women into the shelter. In 2005, the Well-Come Centre underwent major revisions, increasing from 8 to 11 single beds and making additional changes to the structure of the building. The Well-Come Centre now offers programming to women 18 and over to assist women in ending the cycle of homelessness, poverty and violence.


Programs and Services

Our programs encourage women to realize their full potential. Working together we help women end the cycle of homelessness, poverty and violence.

Welcome Centre Shelter for Homeless Women
An 11-bed facility for women age 18+ who are homeless. Call first for bed availability.

Food Bank
Available to women and their children who reside in Windsor’s West End (living west of Crawford Avenue). The Food Bank is open Monday and Wednesday from noon to 3:00 pm (excluding holidays)

Women’s Therapeutic Program
A variety of psychoeducational and recreational group offerings for women residing in the Welcome Centre Shelter program; aims to provide supportive, non-judgmental and empowering group supports to assist women in identifying and reaching personal goals.



The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women welcomes donations of money and various items such as food and  personal hygiene products, and we are always in need of volunteers as well.  The best way to start donating to a local shelter is to give us a call and find out our current and most important

Need Help?

If you are female 18 years or older, and experiencing homelessness, contact The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women directly at 519-971-7595. Males are encouraged to contact the Salvation Army at 519-253-7473.


Our Mission & Goals

Our programs promote personal empowerment, social and family development, healthy living and full participation in society.

Welcome Centre Shelter for Women programs help women end the cycle of homelessness, poverty and violence in their lives.

The following values represent the core beliefs of the organization. The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women believes in

Our programs and services are women-centered and empower women to recognize their self-worth and inherent power.

We respect all women and promote inclusion.

We offer a safe and caring environment for women where they can be free of violence.

We are committed to ensuring that our programs are responsive to changes in our community.

The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women collaborates with other community agencies and services to offer a variety of supports to women.

The organization is open and accountable to people, volunteers, partners, funders and the community.

All staff, students, and volunteers working at the shelter are women who are striving to become role models of empowered women. The women involved with the shelter believe patriarchy is a system that does not work for women and children; they are engaged in changing the laws and creating more options for women while helping the community to acknowledge the impact of gendered violence, poverty, racism and all other forms of oppression has on the lives of women. Our goal is to serve as leader in the women’s movement within the community at large.

Centre Objectives and Goals

  • To provide emergency shelter, food, support, political education/action and advocacy to women experiencing homelessness within a safe, stable, and inclusive environment.
  • To offer all services utilizing a feminist, anti-racist, anti-oppressive approach that is focused on minimizing power imbalances between staff, residents, students, volunteers and board members
  • To recognize and support the strengths and abilities of each woman, and to encourage each woman to have confidence in her ability to take charge of her own life.
  • To seek support and guidance from homeless women in the development, implementation, and evaluation of all programs and services.
  • To provide opportunities for individual and group exploration, analysis and problem-solving around the oppression of women, poverty, and homelessness and how these forms of oppression may be interfering with the life of a resident and her ability to feel empowered.
  • To provide women with emotional and social support that focuses on her resilience and empowerment through individual support, mutual aid and self-help.
  • To assist women in attaining safe and affordable housing, income support/employment, long-term supports and other resources required to help her move toward self-reliance and independence.


Success Stories

Testimonial from Ese

“I never thought I would be in this situation but life happens” states Ese who feels that it was only by God’s grace that she made it to the Well-Come Centre late one October evening in 2010. She was previously living in Hay River Ontario, and had to leave everything behind when she made the long trek to Windsor. Her uncle had sent her some money to get to Windsor but when she arrived at the bus station there was not enough. Ese says the bus driver took one look at her and told her to get on. When she arrived in Windsor she went to the YMCA where a worker there made some phone calls to find her somewhere to stay. The last call was to the Well-Come Centre. Without any money, food, or belongings Ese made her way to the shelter. Meanwhile, at the shelter there was only one bed available which was meant for someone else. However, when she got to the door she was welcomed in.

Reflecting on her stay Ese states, “The Well-Come Centre makes you feel like you belong somewhere and are a part of something.” While at the shelter the staff assisted her in finding housing by showing her how to navigate the system, which she describes as “so efficient.” Ese says, “I was asked what I needed and they helped me find it. If I had to do it all on my own I would have been lost.” The Well-Come Centre gave me the building blocks to get back on my feet.” Without many belongings upon her arrival, Ese was able to get clothing, food, hygiene products and other household items to get her started in her new place. After getting housed, Ese wanted to give back, she volunteered in the Food Bank for six months until she found a job. Currently, Ese is working part time and is living in the same place she found while at the shelter.



Meet Whitney Murphy: A Success Story

Whitney Murphy never imagined she would find herself in a women’s shelter.  She had worked steadily for fourteen years.  However, her work found her travelling a lot and she stayed in motels or bunked down with friendly strangers.  Then when she decided she needed a change of career, she quickly ran out of money and did not have a permanent residence.  When a friend heard of her dilemma, she recommended the Well-Come Centre.

“I wasn’t sure about this place for the first couple of days,” Whitney reports. “But after talking to the staff a couple of times and sitting back and watching people, I realized how things work a little more. I was used to being independent so I had to get accustomed to communal living.”

Whitney applied for geared-to-income housing and remains on their waitlist.  She checked in regularly with staff about different housing options, as she did not know Windsor well and found a place to live quickly.  However, on the evening before she was to move, the landlord called to tell her the agreement had fallen through.

“I was so disappointed because I had worked so hard but the people in the shelter were there to assure me that I was almost to my goal.  I just had to keep going.”

Though there were bumps in the road, Whitney has now secured housing and is set to move out of the Well-Come Centre.  She states she is glad for her time here. “It made me a lot more aware of things about myself and about other people.  I love to people watch and just observe others.  I am more cognizant of parts of myself that I need to work on and areas that can help me move forward.”

If Whitney experiences more bumps in the road once she is in the community, she can access the Well-Come Centre’s outreach social worker and drop-in program.  The Well-Come Centre has an outreach social worker to help women in the community sustain their current housing, as well as to help women who leave the shelter with referrals and access to other community resources.

A frequent visitor to the drop-in program, as well as a volunteer at many events and a newly appointed board member, Natalie St. Martin stayed at the Well-Come Centre twice.  Now in stable housing and rekindling a close relationship with her sister, Natalie feels it is important to give back to the shelter and the community.

“It makes me feel energized!” Natalie exclaims. “The Well-Come Centre gave me so much and I love going back and seeing new people there and helping them.”

Community events and awareness are also a big part of Natalie’s life. “I was also a part of Take Back the Night this year and it was so empowering. I was on the committee that helped to plan the event and my sister sang that night.  It was so personally touching and inspiring to see such a big turnout of strong women.”

And hopefully with their growing list of volunteers, former residents like Natalie and everything that happens at the Well-Come Centre, people can continue to get support and have someone listen to them for years to come



General Questions
I need emergency housing, whom do I call?

If you are female, 18 or older, contact the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women directly at 519-971-7595. Males are encouraged to contact the Salvation Army at 519-253-7473.

What kinds of services does the Welcome Centre provide for residents?

The Centre offers an emergency shelter program, an emergency food bank program for women residing West of Crawford St, a drop-in social work referral program for any woman who self-identifies as at-risk for losing their housing, as well as a drop-in program called The Blue House, in partnership with the Aids Committee of Windsor (targeting street-involved women in the Drouillard Road area).

How many people does the Welcome Centre serve?

The Centre serves approximately 400 women annually through the emergency shelter program and upwards of 1000 families through our emergency food bank program.

How many beds does the Welcome Centre have?

The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women has 11 designated emergency beds for women experiencing homelessness that are per diem funded and 1 available bed for women experiencing homelessness or short-term housing displacement on an as-needed basis.

I would like host a fundraising event to support the Welcome Centre. What do I need to know?

All fundraising efforts are greatly appreciated! Independent fundraisers may note proceeds will benefit the Welcome Centre. If you would like to discuss some ideas or options for ways you can encourage family and friends to engage in fundraising efforts, please email the Centre social worker at

What is your charitable tax number? 

#13301 7897 RP0001

What are your sources of funding?

The Centre, like many non-profits, relies on a variety of funding sources to continue our much-needed programming. Emergency shelter per diem is covered at a current cost of $43.50 per night/per client for the shelter program and is cost-shared between the province and municipality (80/20). In addition, the Centre utilizes various provincial and federal grants (as available) to assist in implementing programs. Donations and fundraising efforts are also much needed components of the Welcome Centre budget.

Can I get a tax receipt for an in-kind donation?

Unfortunately, due to staffing constraints and a strong desire to ensure we are meeting the requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency, at this time the Centre does not normally provide receipts for gift-in-kind donations. If you believe you have a gift-in-kind item that would require a tax receipt, please contact the executive director directly to discuss how we may be able to facilitate your charitable giving.

Will I get a tax receipt if I make a donation to the Welcome Centre?

Yes, any financial donations are provided a tax receipt at year end. Tax receipts are issued in accordance with standards set by the Canada Revenue Agency.

How is your organization governed?

The Centre operates with a volunteer board of directors, made up of 10 community members with varying backgrounds and involvement in the non-profit sector. Board space is also designated for women with lived experience with homelessness and poverty. At the ground level, the Centre is governed by a women-centric and anti-oppressive framework of support staff who work together to meet clients’ needs.

Volunteer Questions
How do I volunteer?

If you are interested in becoming a team member in one of the Centre programs please contact the centre social worker to receive an application ( Volunteers are an asset and valued parts of all programs; as such, we require a minimum time commitment of 3 hours weekly to ensure consistency for clients.

What are the qualifications/requirements for becoming a volunteer?

The Welcome Centre recognizes the importance of lived experience in shaping our interactions with our clients. As such, we have no minimum requirement for education or experience and will work with each volunteer to determine best fit based upon strengths, interests, and availability. The Centre does require that all applicants be at least 18 years of age or over.

I’ve received professional training (counsellor, nurse). May I practice that as a volunteer?

Skilled practitioners who would like to share their expertise are certainly welcome; social workers must be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and those identifying areas of interest that include counselling or therapy must be registered with the appropriate association and have a minimum Master level degree in clinical social work, counselling, or counselling psychology. Additionally, any volunteer noting a professional practice must provide proof of the necessary insurance coverage to practice in this area and registration in the appropriate areas.

I have a special skill or hobby that I want to share.  Can I volunteer in this capacity?

Please contact the Centre social worker at to discuss how best to fit your skill or hobby into programming; this assists in maximizing the available events and activities for clients and ensures adequate planning and preparation time for volunteers to share in special event activities.



Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities at the Well-Come Centre

The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women is always looking for enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and capable volunteers to help with a variety of supporting tasks.  The following list outlines potential volunteer roles that are available, along with associated example tasks for each role.   All volunteers will submit an application form & undergo volunteer training.  Interested volunteers can go to to refine their search for volunteer opportunities, or contact the Well-Come Centre at for more information.


  • Assist residents with daily needs
  • Answer phones
  • General cleanup
  • Help with laundry

Food Bank

  • Organize food donations and stock shelves
  • Prepare food packages
  • Assist food bank users with their needs

Marketing Support

  • Update social media accounts
  • Assist in the development of promotional material
  • Assist in the promotion of specific events

Fundraising Support

  • Organize and send correspondence to donors, supporters, and volunteers
  • Coordinate mailings to seek out sponsorships or donations

Special Events

  • Attend events and help with set-up, tear down, registration, etc.
  • Attend events, representing the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women, building awareness, answering questions

Website Updates

  • Add files to the website as required
  • Make changes to the website as required, such as new testimonials, new annual report, etc.

Volunteer Coordinator

  • Update WEVolunteer pages as required
  • Receive & review volunteer applications from potential volunteers
  • Organize volunteer training workshops
  • Train individual volunteers, provide regular updates



Community Partners

Aids Committee of Windsor-Essex
Contact: Michelle Sharpe

CMHA  Windsor
Contact: Jennie Boyd

Crossroads: Centre for Personal Empowerment
Contact: Tim Baxter, Executive Director

Family Service Windsor Essex
Contact: Joyce Zuk

House of Sophrosyne
Contact: Karen Waddell

Housing Information Services
Contact: Anna Angelidis

Salvation Army
Contact: Major Don Feltham

Teen Health Centre
Street Health Program

The Inn of Windsor
Contact: Sherri Lebert

Windsor Residence Inc.
Contact: Chris Vickers, Resident Director