Our Work

About what leads to family homelessness

The causes of family homelessness are varied and complex. Circumstances that can contribute to family homelessness include unexpected major expenses, sudden injury, serious illness, family violence or breakdown, relationship difficulties, untreated trauma, underemployment, financial losses, and addictions. Indigenous and visible minority families experience significant systematic barriers, including racial and cultural discrimination that heighten their risk of experiencing homelessness. In light of this, Inn from the Cold strives to apply a culturally diverse lens and Indigenous worldview to the services we provide.

About child, youth and family homelessness

Inn from the Cold focuses on the wellness of children, youth, and families to break the cycle of homelessness. Trauma caused by family poverty, conflict, breakdown and abuse are not only contributing factors to child and youth homelessness — but also childhood homelessness itself has been linked as a pathway to chronic and multi-generational homelessness. For these reasons, supporting the mental, social, and physical wellbeing of families and their children is a priority at Inn from the Cold.

About family programs available at Inn from the Cold


    Homeless prevention and diversion program

This program helps families to either stay in their existing home or to locate available permanent housing as quickly as possible. The delivery of the service is customized according to a family’s unique circumstances and needs. It may include short-term financial support, landlord mediation, locating new permanent housing as needed, providing temporary emergency shelter if necessary, case management, and coordinated support from local social services and community partners. The most common reasons for inquiry include financial difficulties, relationship problems, and an existing housing situation that’s unsuitable, unsafe, or unstable in some way.

  Emergency shelter program

This program provides temporary emergency shelter to families when they’re unable to stay in their existing homes and there’s no suitable housing available in the community. Besides providing a safe roof over their heads, this program also covers other basic needs for families, such as food, clothing, footwear, toiletries, baby items, and special supplies for child and youth. These supplies can include sports and recreational equipment such as bikes and special items for school and for birthday, holiday and cultural celebrations.

A number of operations support the delivery of this program. An offsite commercial kitchen provides snacks, homemade meals, and special holiday dinners. A donation centre at Inn from the Cold’s main building on 11th Avenue collects everyday items that families staying in the emergency shelter may need. There is also a dedicated team of volunteers who provide important support in the kitchen and dining room, translate internal documents meant for families into other languages, produce how-to and recreational activity videos for families, provide homework and tutoring supports for
children and youth, and organize events for families, such as birthday parties and holiday celebrations.

  Housing program

This program includes case management, housing, financial help with damage deposits and rent if needed, and coordinated supports. Case management includes goal setting, relationship and community connection building, advocacy, and assistance with various government and community supports. The housing options provide for a range of needs by families, from maximum support with transitional housing to minimal to no support with independent housing. For coordinated supports, IFTC family support workers and case managers work with community partners to provide the additional supports each family needs. Those additional supports may include services to address family wellness, physical health, mental health, and life autonomy.

Additional resources about our work

Download Theory of Change graphic

Download Continuum of Care graphic

Download Map of Family Programs graphic


IFTC Virtual Tour

Our Donation Centre

Our Kitchen