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Thu, Feb 01


Temple Baptist Church

New Hespeler Ukrainian Guest House: Community Meeting

Join the other community members, service clubs, and churches to help transform an empty building into a welcoming and beautiful space for Ukrainian newcomers urgently needing housing after fleeing the war on Ukraine.

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New Hespeler Ukrainian Guest House: Community Meeting
New Hespeler Ukrainian Guest House: Community Meeting

Time & Location

Feb 01, 2024, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Temple Baptist Church, 400 Holiday Inn Dr, Cambridge, ON N3C 3T1, Canada

About the event

Register to join the team.

Everyone who RSVP's will receive updates, such as upcoming meeting dates and times. 

We are planning to have a meeting every week for the next 3-4 weeks.

We are excited to invite you, your service clubs, communities,  or churches, to an exciting opportunity to help prevent Ukrainian newcomers from becoming homeless. - transforming an empty building in downtown Hespeler into a vibrant and welcoming space for Ukrainian families. This space will be for Ukrainian newcomers struggling for a place to call home. Families and people will have the opportunity to rent rooms at a low fee until they can find their own homes. Volunteers will welcome them and ensure they are connected with local settlement and employment services as well as other community groups, churches, and businesses.

Project: Grassroots Response is creating housing solutions for Ukrainian newcomers at an extremely fast rate to address the rate of Ukrainians facing homelessness after arriving in Ontario. Ukrainian newcomers are entering Canada through the new CUAET Work Visa. This means they are not recognized by the government as refugees and therefore do not receive the same financial and housing support. If they arrive at Toronto Pearson Airport AND if they go to the right information area AND if there is room available, they will be given 14 free days at a hotel in the GTA (this does not include food, clothing or other essential items). When they arrive they are expected to find their own housing and employment. There are no other housing options by the government.

This is one of the main reasons why the Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis was created.

Timeline: On Jan 23rd we heard about the 5-plex. Jan 24 we visited the house, and met the amazing property management staff. On this same day, as we continued to receive desperate pleas from Ukrainian families we decided to move forward with renting the space. We hope to bring the Hespeler community quickly together to help transform this space into an inviting and supportive space for emergency and short-term housing needs. Units will open as renovations are finished.

On average we receive 14 requests a week from families/individuals who need housing. 

Our other facilities are pretty much full but the need does not slow down.

The realization of this project directly depends on the support from the local community. The goal is to mobilize community energy and compassion to make this dream happen so that we can help these families.

Event Agenda

6:30 pm - Learn about Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis

6:45 pm - Learn about the urgent needs of Ukrainian Newcomers

7:00 pm - Learn about the new housing project in downtown Hespeler

7:30 pm -  Question and answer period

7:45 pm - 8:15 pm - Brainstorming and team-building time - Part 1

8:15 pm - 8:45 pm - Brainstorming and team-building time - Part 2

Urgent Needs (next 1-4 weeks)

Attend the meeting to meet other volunteers and help plan for

  1. Cleaning
  2. Doing small repairs
  3. Painting
  4. Moving furniture
  5. Finding local employment
  6. Welcoming families
  7. Collecting clothing and other essential items specific to the families

Donations :

  1. Financial support (donate through our website to receive a tax receipt)
  2. If you would like to donate household items complete the donation form here (From beds to plates and everything in between). Join the meeting to help organize and find household items.


Attend to also hear more about how we can work together to transform this space and welcome Ukrainian newcomers to Hespeler. 

If you can not attend everyone is welcome to complete our volunteer form here 

The speed at which we can settle these families in this wonderful house depends on our collective efforts. Over the past 2 years Grassroots has connected newcomers with over 200 host families at least a quarter has rehosted at least once. Since, February 2023 we have been able to open up and work with communities in creating 11 housing units (2 more not including this one are scheduled to open in Feb). We have been able to help over 780 Ukrainian newcomers in urgent need of housing.

Let's join hands to make a difference in Hespeler Your contributions will play a vital role in creating hope and a future for these families

Our St. Jacobs Guest House

Turned from a boarded-up bed and breakfast to a beautiful impactful space

This house was first created by the St. Jacobs Community & Woolwich Healthy Center.  1 year later Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis took over management. 

How the St. Jacob Guest House looks now

Stories from families at our St. Jacobs Guest Houses

"They provided us with a beautiful room and treated us like family members. I gained new brothers and sisters, and I am overjoyed to have had the opportunity to be part of this program. When I arrived, I lacked sufficient funds for rent. They supported us in every possible way. Although I am sad to leave the house and my newfound family, they will always hold a special place in my heart."

Sincerely, Emanuele"

"In November 2023, my 17-year-old son and I left Ukraine for Canada, seeking refuge from the war that disrupted our peaceful life. Our transition was fraught with challenges, including financial hardships and adjusting to a new culture and language. The initial assistance at the airport, offering us a modest room, was a small comfort amidst the overwhelming changes. Their kindness, in providing shelter at St. Jacobs and helping us navigate this new chapter, was invaluable. This journey, with its struggles and triumphs, has been illuminated by the generosity of the community, inspiring us to dream of contributing to this compassionate society we now call home. Our hearts brim with gratitude for everyone at Grassroots who stood by us,"


"In the tranquil town of Zabaroge, Ukraine, our family, the Shcherbaks, enjoyed a life filled with simple pleasures - a cozy home, a beloved car, and our treasured dog. This serenity was shattered on February 24th when the war erupted, plunging us into a world of fear and chaos, and leading to a distressing hospital stay for my ill son amidst the bombings. Determined to find safety, we journeyed to Poland and awaited visas for Canada, while my husband traveled ahead to lay the groundwork for our new life. In Canada, without his family, he struggled to find accommodations, ineligible for the free hotel stays offered to others. However, our fortunes changed when we discovered Grassroots on Facebook. This organization welcomed my husband with open arms, providing a home st jacoubs guest house, English lessons, food, and soon after, they extended their kindness to our entire family upon our arrival. They offered us spacious accommodation, medical care, and school registration assistance."

Shcherbak family

"The war transformed everything; our garage was bombed, and the daily sound of bullets became a haunting reality. Concerned for our safety, we decided to leave for Canada. Arriving in Canada, overwhelmed and unable to speak English, we felt lost at the airport. Initially, kind strangers helped us with a 14-day hotel stay, but soon we realized the need to fend for ourselves regarding housing and jobs. Our luck turned when my son reconnected with a Ukrainian we had helped back home, who introduced us to Grassroot. This organization offered us much-needed support with housing, English classes, food, and job assistance." Viacheslav Otrepiev

"My name is Vladyslav Nehoda, and I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude to Grassroots for their incredible support during a particularly difficult time in my life. After losing both my job and accommodation in Canada, I found myself in a dire situation, stranded on the streets without any financial resources. It was then that I discovered Grassroots, a beacon of hope in my moment of despair. Through them, I met Ahmed, who manages a home in St. Jacobs village. He kindly offered me a place in their guesthouse, where I joined other Ukrainians in a warm, hospitable environment with comfortable living conditions, including free food, private bathrooms, and comfortable beds - a standard surpassing many hotels. Jennifer, the chief volunteer, has been an angelic figure in my life, providing extraordinary support and kindness. Additionally, Stephanie and her team's visits have been instrumental in helping me secure employment, which I am due to start soon." Vladyslav Nehoda.

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