Southern Huron

Your Impact in Southern Huron

Together we improve lives through support for basic needs, service connection, advocacy, research and cultivating innovative initiatives.

United Way Perth-Huron helps here in the community you care about. Thanks to United Way, its partners and donors, over 2,500 vulnerable people in Southern Huron (including Bluewater) have the chance for a brighter future including…

  • 1,662 visits to a supported food bank
  • 122 seniors access transportation
  • 98 people received financial assistance in a time of pressing need
  • 50 people called 211 to connect with services
  • 43 women escaping violence sheltered
  • 6 youth accessed housing and supports
  • 6 men accessed transitional housing


Lack of Housing: A single bedroom rental is over $1,200/mo. 169 people are experiencing homelessness in Huron County.

 Low Income: 57% of people with incomes in Perth-Huron earn less than a living wage ($35,262 annually).

 Mental Health: By the time Canadians reach the age of 40, 1 in 2 have experienced a mental illness.

 Access to Services: Navigating the local social service network is challenging, especially for our most vulnerable.

 Intimate Partner Violence: In Huron County, the OPP received 617 calls related to intimate partner violence in 2021.

 Food Insecurity: 1,510 families in Huron County are food insecure. Food prices rose 7.4% in one year.


Holistic Approach

United Way is committed to cultivating innovative initiatives addressing root causes of local social issues. We research and advocate for a living wage, affordable housing and improved social assistance rates and services.

We also understand that long-term goals don’t solve the challenges of a person facing eviction next week, or the parent with empty cupboards and hungry children right now. To that end, we also fundraise and invest in programs to help ensure people get the immediate help they need.


Changing Local Lives

Thanks to United Way and a supported partner, Archie has the support he needs:

Archie needed a hand when he found himself in an out-of-area shelter due to gaps in the system. The shelter connected with the Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home team and arranged for Archie to return home.

Once he was back in his own community, Archie and the Heart to Home team worked on a housing plan and together, they were able to find suitable housing.

Now, thanks to United Way and a supported partner Archie is doing much better. The Heart to Home team continues supporting him and he looks forward to moving in to a place of his own.

South Huron Connection Centre

United Way’s South Huron Connection Centre is a welcoming place offering basic needs such as light meals, a shower, washroom and laundry facilities. Partnerships with numerous agencies offering support to local people in need mean those using the centre can access important services and supports under one roof.

Over the next three years, a community garden, collective kitchen programs and early years programming will be added, breaking down barriers and developing relationships between community members.

Community Renewal Company

The Community Renewal Company initial focus is developing and operating affordable rental supply, supportive housing options and innovation in social service access and delivery, including community hubs. The renewal company will also play a critical role in the community development ecosystem, supporting and building relationships between non-profit service providers and their supporters and advocates

Urgent Needs Fund

98 local residents accessed assistance

The Urgent Needs Fund is designed to support local residents in a time of crisis with funds for essentials such as rent, groceries, car repairs, medication and child care. United Way is also working for long-term change, lifting people beyond poverty while still ensuring their immediate, basic needs are met:


Gwen lived with her young grandchildren in a small apartment. Her modest income was just enough to keep them housed, fed and clothed. Then the letter came stating the building was being sold and she had four weeks to move.

A million thoughts went through Gwen’s head; finding an affordable new place, the cost of moving, the deposits—all unexpected and unwelcome expenses when she was just getting by. Gwen wasn’t sure where to turn for help until she heard about the Urgent Needs Fund. 


Eliminate Chronic Homelessness

Homelessness isn’t just about sleeping on the streets. A person may be in a temporary shelter, incarcerated without a place to go after or couch surfing. Homelessness affects almost every aspect of life including family well-being, employment and physical and mental health. People experiencing homelessness have shorter life expectancies, are more likely to be victims of violence and go hungry at least once a week. The odds often feel stacked against those experiencing homelessness due to complex, interconnected issues like mental illness, addiction and abuse.

The Huron Homelessness Report of 2021 reported 169 individuals as experiencing homelessness in Huron County. However, 80% of homelessness is hidden—meaning there are many more people struggling to find a place to call their own.

Meeting Needs

Housing Advocate icon Housing Advocate to find housing & provide ongoing support

Prevention Services icon Prevention and support services for youth & women

Turning point for men icon Three new beds for Huron Turning Point transition home for men

Emergency shelter Emergency shelter during cold months

80 Women and children provided with emergency shelter in Southern Huron in 2021


After suffering traumatic injuries while working, Aldo found himself without a home and suffering from debilitating pain that required significant rehabilitation in Toronto.

As life became increasingly desperate, Aldo reached out for help and was able to move in to a local transitional home for men. Once he moved in, Aldo was able to reconnect with his estranged family and have a stable place to stay in the community he’d always called home. Even though he still faced daily challenges with pain and a lack of mobility.

Now, Aldo is doing better. He still faces challenges around mobility and chronic pain, but thanks to United Way and a supported partner he is able to focus on his recovery because he doesn’t have to worry about where he is going to stay, or how he is going to afford his next meal.


United Way Southern Huron Community Committee

Dave Reid (Co-chair) Darren Boyle (Co-chair) David Baker Maureen Cole
Laura Connelly Dawn Crook Morgan Dykstra Sheila Hamilton
Dave Hughes Andrea Loohuizen Wendy McLeod-Haggitt Elise Metcalf
Jacqui Mitchell Benita Ruby Betty Toornstra Shawn Walker

–> United Way Perth-Huron Manager Community Development, Southern Huron: Michelle Field


Changing Local Lives

“I am the grandmother to three young boys who lost their mother in 2021. She used the Recreation Arts and Sports Program to help pay for their sports, specifically hockey as it is their passion in life to play.

“Since my daughter passed away and I have taken these boys into my home, I have tried my best to keep their lives as routine as possible. Because I am retired and live on very little income, I reached out for help. This program has done wonders for my grandsons and I am so thankful that they were able to continue to help my boys. They have been through so much and it means so much to me to be able to keep them in their hockey so they can see their friends and coaches and try to be “normal” for a few hours each week. Thank you!”


Supported Partners serving Exeter & Area residents:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron ConnectYouth Perth-Huron Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre Huron County Health Unit – Poverty 2 Prosperity
Huron County Homeless Strategy Huron Safe Homes for Youth Huron Turning Point Transition Home Exeter Huron Women’s Shelter
iVolunteer Perth-Huron John Howard Society of London & District ONE CARE Home & Community Support Services Living Wage Canada
Social Research & Planning Council 211  YMCA of SWO   


Exeter Town Hall

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