About Shelterlink Youth Services

Red roof outline.

Our Vision

To make youth homelessness in Perth County a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience. 

Horizontal blue line.

Our Mission

To support youth experiencing homelessness, or are at risk of homelessness, through prevention, advocacy, shelter, and communication connection services. 

Horizontal blue line.

Our Values

Excellence in service.

Integrity in our work. 

Respect for all. 

Kindness towards self and others. 

Responsibility to the community. 

Horizontal blue line.

Our Three-Year Strategic Goals, 2023-2026

Expand services for youth 16-24 who are housing insecure. 

Enhanced organizational capacity. 

Enhanced community relationship and advocacy for youth at risk of becoming homeless. 

Horizontal blue line.

Shelterlink's History

Started in 1989 as an Ad Hoc Committee called Youth Housing Needs.

In 1991 they received a Provincial Grant for $40k and created Stratford and Area Access to Independent Living, or S.A.A.I.L.

The Black Swan Coffee House Revival was started in 1991 as a fundraiser for SAAIL and continued to entertain Stratfordites most years until the pandemic.

In 1992, SAAIL opened Harbour House. The Bethel Pentecostal Church kindly offered their manse, at RR 4 Stratford free of charge. It had 3 beds for young men ages 16-21.

In 1993, Harbour House moved to 265 Ontario St. and combined the SAAIL offices with 4 beds and one emergency short-term bed.

In 1999, it moved again to 222 Brunswick St. as a rent-to-own Home.  It had 7 beds. The offices moved to Albert St.

In June 2001, Harbour House closed. 

The Government support they received only covered the running costs, and SAAIL could not keep up with the mortgage payments. 

Harbour House served 114 young men between 1999 and 2001.

By 2002, SAAIL’s YES (Youth Emergency Services) Men and Women Program had been established. It placed youth in local homes.

There was also the Turning Points Program with the Huron-Perth Centre for Children and Youth which provided preventative services.

By 2004, the organization had partnered with the Stratford Hospital to create LOFY (Living Options For Youth) in the old Conestoga College Nurses’ Residence.

In April 2007,  SAAIL was renamed “Stratford/Perth Shelterlink”