Our History

Historic photo of two men shaking hands in front of St. Leonard's truck

SOAR Community Services is a not-for-profit organization that has been offering help to the people in Brantford, Brant, and Haldimand for over 55 years. Today, we provide our community members with support in the areas of Employment, Housing, Justice, and Addictions and Mental Health. The following is a brief history of the Agency:


  • The Construct Your Career program was put on pause
  • Foundations for Trades launched through the Skills Development Fund. This program in partnership with Conestoga College provides 90 youth in the Brantford area with hands on training in the Construction sector.  The 5 week training program prepares youth for a placement with a local employer, followed by continued employment in the field.
  • Opened a women’s specific addictions treatment program funded by Ontario Health.


  • The WRAP program received a one-year expansion to serve an additional 30 youth
  • The Construct Your Career program expanded to Haldimand to provide the program for an additional 30 individuals out of Dunnville Secondary School.
  • Revamped our housing programs in partnership with the City of Brantford and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. This resulted in The Youth Resource Centre and Transitional Housing programs undergoing an overhaul, creating both Cornerstone House and Station House programs. 


  • We received funding from Service Canada through the Youth Employment Skills Strategy to deliver a program we called Work Readiness & Advancement Program (WRAP). This is a 3 year agreement to support 90 youth furthest from being employed gain the skills required to find and keep a job. The program supports those experiencing housing issues with rental support and works to provide all the services of SLCS to a youth so they can be successful.
  • Construct Your Career launched through the Skills Advance Ontario Pilot project. We received funding to provide 60 individuals with hands on training in the Construction sector. In partnership with Conestoga College and Brant Skills Centre, individuals received 8 weeks of training on carpentry, electrical, plumbing and essential skills.


  • In April 2019, the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) launched in Brantford and Brant County provides secondary crisis response to individuals and families in the environment of their choice within 48 hours as well as follow up support until the client's difficulties have been resolved or the client has been linked to appropriate community services.
  • In September 2019, the Agency opened the community's first Residential Withdrawal Management and Treatment Service which filled a significant gap in the continuum of Addictions Services. In the first six months the withdrawal management program served 147 unique individuals and the residential treatment program served 200 individuals.


  • Employing Young Talent Initiative introduced


  • Two increases in funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and the Local Health Integration Network for the Addictions Supportive Housing Program
  • The rent subsidy funding increased to support an additional 13 units (total of 21 units) and two additional staffing positions


  • Summer Jobs Service discontinued
  • Youth Job Connection Summer and Youth Job Link introduced 
  • MCRRT OPP Team introduced in partnership with Brant OPP
  • Received funding from the Enhanced Ontario Youth Action Fund for a Youth Justice Family Counsellor
  • Increase in funding from the Ministry of the Attorney General to provide Enhanced (Adult and Youth Mental Health) Bail Verification and Supervision Program and to establish satellite Bail Verification and Supervision Programs in Haldimand and Norfolk


  • Jobs for Youth discontinued
  • Youth Employment Fund wound down
  • Youth Job Connection introduced by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development
  • Canada-Ontario Job Grant introduced
  • MCRRT Team introduced in Brantford, in partnership with Brantford Police


  • The male transitional housing program (John Renwick House) relocated to 144 Chatham Street
  • The female transitional housing program (Sally Laidlaw House) relocated to 75 Albion Street
  • Peter Willis Residence relocated to 19 Buffalo Street. Adult Community Justice Programs relocated to 12 Market Street
  • Received funding from the City of Brantford allowing the Agency to support up to 6 individuals aged 16 and up who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in privately owned apartments
  • Received operational funding from HNHB-LHIN for Withdrawal Management and Treatment Services Phase 1, which includes separate Day Treatment Services for men and women
  • Renovation plans for 135 Elgin Street to offer a full 24/7 operation of withdrawal and treatment service are pending Ministry of Health funding
  • Jobs for Youth secured a new facility at 230 Murray Street
  • Amalgamated St. Leonard’s Society of Brant, Brant Alcove Rehabilitation Services Inc., Addiction Services of Brant Inc., and Brant Employment Centre of Brant to St. Leonard’s Community Services Inc.


  • MTCU introduced the Youth Employment Fund which is delivered at the Brant, Caledonia and Dunnville Employment Centres
  • Jobs for Youth operated from 12 Market Street location
  • The male transitional housing program located at 75 Albion Street accepted clients in March 2013
  • Chatham Street Residence (transitional housing for young women) relocated to 19 Buffalo Street and capacity increases from 5 to 8 beds.


  • Received funding for a Concurrent Disorders Outreach Program, located at 225 Fairview Drive, Unit 2
  • Funding approved for a Supportive Housing program, which will allow the Agency to provide a continuum of housing services for homelessness to independent living
  • Received funding for a transitional housing program for young men aged 18 to 24, which will be located at 75 Albion Street
  • Ontario Employment Assistance Service funding expired closing four rural Career Resource Centres
  • The new funding provided for the Youth Mental Health Court Worker Program in 2012
  • The staff and clients moved from 19 Buffalo Street to 135 Elgin Street
  • The program is renamed Peter Willis Residence and capacity increases to 15 beds.
  • Due to the closure of the Peter Willis Residence a number of offices were moved
  • Community Programs Justice Youth moved from 133 Elgin Street, second floor to the first floor and the Community Programs Justice Adult program moved to the back of 135 Elgin Street
  • The Administration offices moved from Clarence Street to 133 Elgin Street. Peter Willis Residence, a 15-bed group home for male young offenders was closed due to a funding loss
  • Youth Justice Committee program ended. Roy Walsh Home closed


  • The home at 41 William Street was sold to a group of investors to be used as a rental property for university students
  • Agency’s justice services from 12 Market Street and 466 Colborne Street moved into the 133 Elgin Street location vacated with the move of addiction and mental health services to 225 Fairview Drive
  • The Youth Action Centre at 466 Colborne Street was sold to the Pregnancy Resource Centre. Ministry of the Attorney General commenced funding the Agency for the Direct Accountability Program (DAP) and Stop Shop Theft Program replacing the Adult Diversion and Adult anti-Shoplifting Program
  • MCYS announced the Youth Community Support Order program would be transferred province wide from community agencies to the probation offices
  • The LHIN announced expansion of the Early Intervention in Psychosis Program (Cleghorn) to Brant County with funding to St. Leonard’s Community Services. Addiction and Mental Health Services and the Brant Employment Centre physically moved into newly renovated premises at 225 Fairview Drive
  • Brant Skills Centre (formerly Literacy Council of Brant) entered into a sub-lease to co-locate with St. Leonard’s Community Services
  • The Caledonia Employment Centre opened at 11 Argyle Street North in Caledonia


  • St. Leonard’s was nominated and awarded the CANS Outcome Champion Agency Level Award by the PRAED Foundation in San Francisco, California for our creative implementation of Total Clinical Outcomes Management (TCOM) principles in client service delivery
  • The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services provided funding under the Safer and Vital Communities Grant for an animal assisted therapy program for youth in our justice services
  • Dr. Jean Clinton, a child psychiatrist from McMaster University, commenced providing an introductory presentation at the beginning of CBT training sessions
  • MTCU announced St. Leonard’s Community Services would be delivering the full spectrum of “Employment Ontario” services at a new north end location, a renovated Dunnville location and a new site in Caledonia


  • MCYS commenced funding an eight week Summer Jobs for Youth program providing pre and post employment training and a fully subsidized six week work placement with local employers
  • The Agency moved the Lottery Kiosk selling break open and OLG tickets from the Market Square location to an expanded site at the Lynden Park Mall
  • Health Canada’s Anti Drug Strategy provided funding to establish three Youth Drop In Centres with community partners developed with the assistance of a Youth Advisory Committee
  • St. Leonard’s Community Services became an accredited member of Children’s Mental Health Ontario
  • A consistent client centred service approach was implemented across all sectors with the adoption of the Agency’s Client Service Model including the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment tool (ANSA for adults) developed and presented to staff by Dr. Lyons
  • A Client Service Manager Database was developed to collect integrated client information and provide client information and outcomes
  • With funding through our partnership with RBC, TAPE commenced annual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Training for Agency staff


  • National Crime Prevention provided a grant to operate a Youth and Art program for 3 years
  • Varency Home was rebuilt and residents moved from 75 Albion Street back to Varency Home
  • With a National Crime Prevention Grant, Varency Home in partnership with the Canadian Canine College commenced a Youth and Animals Learning Together Program (YALT) at Varency Home
  • Royal Bank of Canada developed a partnership with the Agency providing funding, volunteer support and joint marketing efforts
  • CMHC provided a renovation grant to provide additional programming space at 75 Albion Street. When completed, Roy Walsh Home moved from 41 William Street back to 75 Albion Street.
  • Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management board co-located a Youth Services Officer at the Youth Action Centre offering programs and services to urban aboriginal youth


  • A fire at Varency destroyed the home and residents were temporarily moved to 75 Albion Street
  • The Youth Justice Committee moved from 12 Market Street to the Youth Action Centre with other youth justice programs
  • Roy Walsh Home at 75 Albion Street closed due to reduced occupancy and residents relocated to 41 William Street
  • National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) and MCYS Designated Housing Reserve provided funding to renovate 144 Chatham Street to provide a transitional home for females from the Youth Resource Centre
  • The Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) approved proposals to fund a 5-bed transitional housing program at 144 Chatham Street


  • The Ministry of Education approved maintaining the Section 20 Schools previously at 29 Victoria and at the Youth Resource Centre as community schools at YAC
  • YAC opened to house Youth Employment Centre, Attendance Centre, 2 Section 20 schools and Justice Community Programs
  • Chatham Street residents moved to 75 Albion Street and Albion Street residents moved to 41 William Street. The homes were named Roy Walsh Homes.
  • MTCU awarded the job development component of Youth Job Connect to the Youth Employment Centre at 466 Colborne Street
  • CMHC provided a renovation grant to construct an addition at 331 Dalhousie Street to provide kitchen, dining and recreation facilities to accommodate 20 youth
  • 12 Market Street was initially renovated for a training and conference centre for the Agency and the community, but used for the community justice and mental health programs
  • Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care awarded funding for Concurrent and Mental Health Case Management located at 12 Market
  • Ministry of the Attorney General awarded funding for the Youth Justice Committee Program located at 12 Market Street
  • Ministry of the Attorney General awarded contract for Bail Verification and Supervision Program at 12 Market Street


  • Children’s Mental Health funding supported Respite Experience at Tim Horton Onondaga Farms and increased number of PASP, SNAP™ and Youth Anger Control groups. Walk in Clinic for youth aged 0 to 16 opened at 133 Elgin Street
  • MCYS merged phase I and II at Peter Willis Residence and Victoria Street closed. YRC location at 40 Queen Street was sold and program moved temporarily to 29 Victoria Street
  • Purchased building at 466 Colborne Street for new Youth Action Centre (YAC)
  • Albion Street Residence was closed and program funding transferred to support merged YRC
  • Dalhousie program moved temporarily to 75 Albion
  • CMHC funded renovations at 331 Dalhousie to accommodate up to 20 beds for YRC residents
  • YRC moved from temporary location at 29 Victoria Street to 331 Dalhousie Street
  • Youth and Animals Learning Together (YALT) program commenced at Varency Home with funding from National Crime
  • MOHLTC awarded Accord Funding to expand walk in services for ages 17 to 99
  • Addiction and Mental Health Services moved to 133 Elgin Street and Administration relocated to 1100 Clarence Street


  • Opened Attendance Centre for Young Offenders in former William Street Residence
  • Constructed and opened Varency Home for children aged 12 – 17 in care of the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand/Norfolk in Jarvis, Ontario with funding from CMHC and the Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Dunnville Employment Centre moved to new location at 208 Broad Street East
  • Addiction and Mental Health Services became a community site for the Needle Exchange Program


  • Opened Section 20 school classroom in the Youth Resource Centre
  • Addictions and Mental Health Counsellor for the YRC. CFSA licensing obtained for the YRC


  • Changed name to St. Leonard’s Community Services and adopted new logo and tag line “Challenge. Choices. Change.”
  • Moved Burford Career resource Centre from the high school to a public site
  • Closed St. Leonard’s Pallet Company after 25 years in business
  • MotherVoice - in partnership with the CAS commenced a substance use program for expectant and mothers with children aged 0 to 6 to reduce the negative impact of addictions on themselves, their children and their families
  • In co-operation with Ontario Works, Addiction and Mental Health programming provides assessment and ongoing treatment for clients with addiction issues that interfere with employment readiness


  • Opened Youth Resource Centre (YRC) for homeless teens
  • Seven CRC’s were opened to the public
  • Opened CRC’s in Assumption College, Grand Erie Learning Alternatives and Dunnville High School
  • Expanded Dalhousie Street Residence Program to include Chatham Street Residence
  • SNAP™ - Stop Now and Plan - Children between the ages of 9 and 12 learn to control impulsivity, to think about the consequences of their actions and to make positive choices
  • Bail Supervision - targets youth 12 to 17 who have committed an offence, have been charged, and would otherwise be placed in detention


  • Commenced Community Justice Circles as an alternative to traditional court process
  • Opened Career Resource Centres at North Park, Burford, St. John’s College and McKinnon Park in Caledonia
  • Relocated Chatham Street residents to Victoria Street Residence home for young offenders 12 – 15
  • Closed Bingo Place (February)
  • Commenced Mobile Crisis Response Service providing crisis intervention service for children up to age 18 and their parents in Brant County
  • Commenced in 2000 a 4-week Smoking Cessation Program individually and/or in groups to those interested in quitting smoking


  • Opened Career Resource Centres in Paris District High School, Brantford Collegiate Institute, Pauline Johnson, Hagersville and Cayuga High Schools
  • Commenced Back on Track Remedial Measures Program
  • Partnered with Police Services to offer Pre-Charge Diversion Program
  • Commenced Take Control – A Youth Anger Control Service
  • Purchased 29 Victoria Street as home for young offenders aged 12 to 15
  • Added the Problem Gambling Program


  • Opened the Career Resource Centre at Tollgate Technological Skills Centre
  • Initiated Anti-Shoplifting Program in partnership with the Brantford Police Services
  • Amalgamated with Addiction Services of Brant and relocated Impaired Drivers Awareness Program there
  • Commenced “Work Release Program” for federal offenders at Pallet Company
  • Partnered with Nova Vita Women’s Services to deliver Family Violence Abuse/Awareness Program
  • With funding from Rotary Club, built Dalhousie Street school addition - The Learning for Life Classroom


  • Relocated Fleet Street Residence clients to 144 Chatham Street and expanded to 8 beds
  • Commenced intake service for all young offenders charged in Brantford, enabling children aged 12 to 15 to remain in their home community
  • Relocated Brant Alcove Residence – a 10-bed substance use treatment home to 19 Buffalo Street
  • Relocated Women’s Residence from 19 Buffalo Street to 13 Fleet Street
  • Opened the “Employment Centre” in Dunnville, providing employment services to area residents
  • Sold 13 Fleet Street. Referred clients to YWCA Housing Programs
  • Assumed Management of Addiction Services of Brant Inc.


  • Opened the Fleet Street Residence, a 6-bed co-ed residence for young offenders aged 12 to 15


  • Started the Parent Support Program, a 40-week forum of mutual support and exchange for parents of 13 to 17 year old, “out of control” adolescents


  • Opened the Buffalo Street Residence, a 10-bed supportive housing program providing transitional housing to women aged 18 to 24


  • Started the Family Violence Abuse/Awareness Program, a 10-week educational awareness program for male perpetrators of domestic violence
  • Opened the Youth Employment Counselling Centre at 12 Market Street in downtown Brantford providing employment services to youth aged 16 to 24


  • In partnership with the Children’s Aid Society of Brant opened the Dalhousie Street Residence, a 10-bed group home for children aged 12 to 16 in need of protection


  • Opened the Information/Lottery Kiosk in the Market Square Mall to generate fundraising revenue
  • Implemented the Intensive Supervision Program for young offenders aged 12 to 15
  • Implemented the Intermittent Weekend Work Program for adult male inmates incarcerated at the Burtch Correctional Centre


  • Converted Brant Alcove to a 10-bed substance use treatment program for federal parolees
  • Converted the Elgin Street Residence to a 15-bed group home for male young offenders aged 16 and 17 and renamed it Peter Willis Residence in honour of the Agency’s founding Executive Director


  • Relocated and expanded the St. Leonard’s Pallet Company to employ 20 clients, including women
  • Started the Impaired Drivers Awareness Program. Opened the Albion Street Residence, a 9-bed co-ed home for resourceless youth


  • Commenced Parole Supervision Program for federal parolees
  • Assumed the management of Brant Alcove Rehabilitation Services Inc., a 12-bed substance use treatment home for adult males


  • Opened the William Street Residence, a 10-bed group home for male young offenders aged 16 and 17


  • Expanded the Community Service Order to include young offenders


  • Expanded the Elgin Street Residence to 20 beds


  • Opened the St. Leonard’s Pallet Company to provide employment and job skills training for offenders and other employment-disadvantaged persons
  • Started the Community Service Order Program as an alternative to incarceration or fines


  • Expanded the Elgin Street Residence to 16 beds


  • Opened the Elgin Street Residence, an 8-bed halfway house for adult male offenders


  • Incorporated St. Leonard’s Society of Brant and received charter