Affordable housing project for at-risk youth in Oshawa – The Refuge – on schedule


Published March 25, 2024 at 10:57 am

The Refuge

The 26-bed affordable housing project for youth in crisis in Oshawa is on schedule for the opening of The Refuge this fall, with the organization releasing a progress report last week.

A re-zoning application that would allow the Refuge Youth Centre to move their operations a few blocks west to the former Holy Cross school on Simcoe Street got the go-ahead at Oshawa Council in 2021, though not without some spirited debate and reports of threats made against the applicant’s loudest critics.

The Refuge, which has been helping homeless and street youth in Oshawa and Durham Region for a quarter century, began pursuing the idea of providing more affordable housing in community for youth in 2020. Later that year the group entered into an agreement to purchase the former Holy Cross school at 357 Simcoe Street South and the next year secured Council approval and the necessary funding for the project.

When the facility opens this fall there will be 26 affordable housing apartments and support services for youth, while the back of the building will be the new home for The Refuge, which will provide services for as youth from the community who need a place to be “loved, nurtured, encouraged, safe and a have a place to belong.”

The apartments will rent for $400 a month for Ontario Works tenants or $500 a month for those on the Ontario Disability Support Program, plus $35 a month for internet. Utilities are included.

The units range in size from 151 sq. ft. to 215 sq. ft, each with its own kitchen, washroom with shower, and closet.

Some units will be a little larger, such as those reserved for ‘community builders’. The occupants of these one-bedroom units will have the job of “building community” with the other residents. “Not as a superintendent or housing worker but as a community builder.”

The building is now under construction, with plumbing, electrical, mechanical and drywall being installed and kitchens now being manufactured.

To see the plans for the facility visit

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