Supporting business owners and equity-deserving individuals in the downtown Guelph community to ensure downtown is a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for all.

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.


Our team:
Alex Cairney (he/him), Josh Schafer (he/him), Kim Hanlon (she/her)

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.


Book your training here.


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.”

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


(click on links below): Community Hot Weather Response 2022

Supportive Community Connections in Downtown Guelph (2021/2022) Digital Booklet

Supportive Community Connections – Pamphlet 2021-2022-compressed

Business Tips for De-Escalation PDF PRINT

Business Homelessness Tool Kit, OBIAA – PDF


Guelph Welcoming Streets Initiative-Evaluation 2020



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

Welcoming Streets is available to support business owners and vulnerable individuals Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.


The Outreach Workers can be reached:


Alex Cairney: 519-710-0464

Josh Schafer: 519-362-1454

Kim Hanlon: 519-710-8528


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






To become a sponsor contact:


Meg Dunning

Program Developer, Downtown Guelph Business Association

Business Owner, Downtown Guelph

"It makes me feel more secure in dealing with future situations knowing that there are people I can call to help resolve an issue without involving the police. Thank you Welcoming Streets!"

Business Owner, Downtown Guelph

"I think it is an important service that bridges the gap between policing and people getting access to services. You need to have good caring people in this role to make it work which seems you have had."

Main Branch Supervisor, Guelph Public Library

"The role of the library has always been to connect people in our community to the information and resources they need or want to learn about. Having developed a partnership with Welcoming Streets we are able to work collaboratively to support individuals in the downtown who are experiencing homelessness and/or addictions. Through our relationship we can provide a holistic solution to the unique challenges downtown is facing. Not only are community members supported but so are the staff at Guelph Public Library. We all come together to offer life changing solutions that benefits not just the individual but the community as a whole."