2015-8563

Belinda’s Place Foundation: Our Story

Every woman deserves a place to call home – that’s the idea behind Belinda’s Place. It provides homeless women with a safe and supportive environment so they can get back on their feet.

A study, commissioned by the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness, and paid for by The Regional Municipality of York, in 2007, highlighted the urgent need for emergency housing for homeless women in York Region.

The report stated that more than 10,000 single women were living with low income in York Region in 2006. It also said that single women were more than three times more likely to live with low income than other residents.

The report also stated that the number of female clients using services for the homeless was increasing annually. About 500 women were  turned away from emergency housing  serving abused women and families in 2006.

The waiting list for subsidized housing had more than 5,500 households in 2007. There were no places in York Region that existed to serve single women without homes who were not fleeing from violence.

Town of Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen and former Newmarket-Aurora Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach joined forces to make a difference. They inspired a team of 30 community members to come together with a vision for Belinda’s Place emergency housing for homeless women.

In 2009, upon learning of the critical need for emergency housing for women, the Society of Friends (Quakers) donated their property on Yonge Street in Newmarket as the future site of Belinda’s Place.

In 2010, York Regional Council approved the development of an emergency housing facility to help single homeless women. Soon after, Belinda’s Place Foundation was established. The Foundation made a commitment to engage the community and raise one million dollars toward the cost of building an emergency housing facility that would provide services to at risk and homeless women.

Belinda Stronach served as honorary chair, joined by board members Mayor Tony Van Bynen, Jim Alexander, Donna Gerrits, Steve Hinder, Debora Kelly, Brian Kressler, Brenda McLennan, Pat Noble and Jackie Playter.

Demonstrating generosity and true compassion, Belinda’s Place garnered widespread support from the community, businesses, local municipalities and faith groups.

After golf and hockey tournaments, gala fashion nights, tea parties, recitals, a hoedown, a red carpet day at the salon, a night at the Legion, bracelet and toque sales, countless volunteer hours and cheques ranging from $25 to more than $50,000, Belinda’s Place Foundation met its goal of raising one million dollars.

Additionally, Magna International Inc. made a generous gift of one million dollars for an endowment fund that would be used to enhance programs and services at Belinda’s Place.

Belinda’s Place is a tribute to what can happen when a caring and compassionate community — its citizens, businesses and government — create a partnership that is committed to building a stronger, healthier community.

Belinda’s Place opened on November 16, 2015. Now that women without homes have hope for the future, Belinda’s Place Foundation was dissolved in January 2016.