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The Changing Face of Homelessness

Over the years, Dawn House has seen the faces of homeless women, with and without children, change. Their problems have been very similar over the years, but the intensity of their problems has increased significantly. We have seen an increase in the number of families and the number of women over the age of 60. This is due in large part to low vacancy rates in Kingston combined with high market rents. It can take up to 8-10 years to secure a Rent Geared to Income unit.

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Other factors that impact homeless women and children include reductions to health and social service programs and high unemployment rates in a stagnant economy. Consequently, the needs of emergency shelter residents have become more complex because of the poverty that results from funding cuts and policy changes.

In addition, over the years we have seen a significant increase in the number of women who are in receipt of Ontario Disability Support Program funds (ODSP), Canada Pension Plan, and Old Age Security benefits. Many of the women we work with have significant health challenges. One of the trends we are seeing is multiple episodes of homelessness.



Dawn House is an incorporated non-profit organization, reporting to a volunteer Board of Directors.

Our constitution allows us to have six to ten Directors. Membership at Dawn House and election to the Board of Directors is open to any individual over the age of 18 years of age.

The Executive of the Board is comprised of the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. The Board has the following three standing committees: Fundraising, Policy and Executive and Finance.

The Board of Directors may, from time to time, appoint ad hoc committees to perform specific tasks. Any such ad hoc committee is dissolved upon completion of the prescribed task. An example of this is the ad hoc committee for Human Resources and Labour Management, Board Recruitment.

If you are interested in serving on our Board of Directors, please see the section under Volunteers.

Dawn House ceased operating as a 24 hour crisis shelter in 2016 and moved to a new location at 965 Milford Drive in the City's West End. Currently, the building is under construction and when finished will provide high support beds in its congregate housing wing and nine new permanent affordable supportive housing units. Dawn House will continue to provide wellness-based services and programs for homeless, marginalized and impoverished women.