Safe & Engaging Streets
WHAT IS THE WELCOMING STREET INITIATIVE (WSI)?
The WSI was designed to ensure that downtown Guelph is safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all community members.
WHAT IS THE PROGRAM'S PURPOSE?
A Peer Outreach Worker works to support business owners by responding to situations that do not require the help of police. In addition, the Worker engages with vulnerable individuals to ensure they are connected with the services they need.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED OUTCOMES?
- Business owners feel supported and have access to the information/training they need
- Equity deserving individuals feel supported, and are linked with the services they need
- The downtown core is safe and inclusive for all community members
GUELPH POLICE SERVICES IN THE CORE
The unit consists of four officers and one downtown liaison officer assigned to patrol the area inside of Woolwich, Wellington, Norfolk and Gordon streets.
It was formed in response to growing safety issues downtown, but also to help address drug use and homelessness that has been seen in the area.
While making arrests and enforcing the law is part of the role, the focus is more about building relationships with businesses, organizations, residents and visitors downtown.
SUPPORTING BUSINESS OWNERS AND EQUITY-DESERVING INDIVIDUALS IN THE DOWNTOWN GUELPH COMMUNITY TO ENSURE DOWNTOWN IS A SAFE, INCLUSIVE, AND WELCOMING SPACE FOR ALL.
Getting around in Downtown Guelph is getting easier. Our community has been working hard towards a barrier-free downtown. In 2016 StopGap ramps were built and customized for 40+ downtown businesses.
The DGBA, with input from the provincial government and accessibility action groups, produced a business tool kit. The tool kit aims to educate businesses and offer advice on how best to accommodate those with additional needs, whether they be physical or intellectual. It also includes a list of resources for both businesses and customers.
What People Are Saying
For information about emergency shelters, call:
- HERE 24/7: 1-844-437-3247
If you see someone on the street in need of assistance (not an emergency response) and Welcoming Streets is unavailable, call:
- Guelph Police Service non-emergency line, 519-824-1212
- Wellington County OPP non-emergency line, 1-888-310-1122
- HERE 24/7, 1-844-437-3247
- Call 911 if it is a life threatening emergency situation
WSI PROGRAM RESOURCES/EVALUATIONS:
- Community Hot Weather Response 2022
- Supportive Community Connections Booklet 2021/2022
- Supportive Community Connections Pamphlet 2021-2022
- Business Tips for De-Escalation
- OBIAA Business Homelessness Tool Kit
- The Business of Accessibility HandbooK: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart
- Guelph Welcoming Streets Initiative-Evaluation 2020
- All Access Business Tool Kit 2019 Final
- Downtown Guelph Accessibility Map
This map, accurate as of June 2016, indicates the locations of accessible parking spots, benches, curb ramps, stores that have StopGap ramps, and accessible public washrooms.
- Welcoming Street Mini Documentary – Filmed by Jack Bailey
- Welcoming Streets: A day in the life of – by Julie Porter, WSI Outreach Worker
- No One Left Behind – United Way Guelph Wellington Documentary
If you would like to partner, volunteer or donate to Welcoming Streets contact email@example.com
Meet our Outreach Workers
The Welcoming Streets Outreach team have a wealth of experience and education in supporting equity deserving individuals. They are driven by empathy, compassion, and a desire to provide individuals with the resources, care and support they deserve.
The WSI team enjoy connecting with business owners, property owners and staff, providing education, training, and on-going support.
We appreciate the frontline work they provide to support the overall health and wellbeing of our Downtown Business Improvement Area.
Alex Cairney (he/him)
Setup Workplace Training
For DGBA members, our Peer Outreach Workers offer free de-escalation and safety training to business owners and their teams. This training is a good opportunity to work with a Welcoming Streets Worker to do some safety planning for your unique business environment, and get some tips and tricks on how to navigate any future situations. It can help your teams feel more prepared and equipped to support our community members.
The training is provided free of charge to all businesses within the Downtown Guelph Business Association. It takes place in your workplace and typically takes approximately 1-2 hours.
Businesses that have previously participated in this training report feeling educated and supported afterwards, and say that the training provided great resources and confidence.
For businesses outside of downtown Guelph. Please email Welcoming Streets for assessment.
What business owners are saying about Welcoming Streets
“I think this program is absolutely a step in the right direction. We should all be working together to support our community. The workshop was honest, personal and an important reality check that I think Guelph needs if we want to move forward increasing safety, improving lives and making our downtown core a better place for everyone.”
Contact our Outreach Workers
Welcoming Streets is available to support business owners and vulnerable individuals Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.
The Outreach Workers can be reached:
Alex Cairney: 519-838-6737
Call an Outreach Worker if:
- You are ready to set up de-escalation and safety training for your workplace
- You see someone in distress downtown and want to see if a someone is available to provide them support
- You are concerned for a vulnerable individual’s safety and wellbeing and want help connecting them to community services
- You need clarity on who to contact to support a vulnerable person, or how to navigate a situation that is taking place at your workplace
- You encounter drug paraphernalia around your business