There are many aspects of community life at The Refuge.  These will vary over time, however, there are some events that will be a weekly routine. All community members would attend these events unless they are at work, school, or an appointment. These gatherings will facilitate connection and community building, as well as help with specific issues, tasks, and goals.  

Each member will add to the community schedule, based upon his or her own goals and needs.


Families with children may be regular visitors to The Refuge. Adults are not to be left alone with unrelated children in the building. 

Respect in Relationships

In our society there is a huge lack of respect, especially in relationships between men and women. We want to create a place that is the exact opposite from this disrespect that we see around us. No women are able to visit at The Refuge without staff present. We also wish to raise the bar for how our resident view and treat women. We want women to feel safe both inside and outside the building. This means being  careful how we present ourselves to each other (e.g. flirting behaviour, suggestive comments, inappropriate humour, etc.), and generally watching out for each other. In one sense we should see our community as a family and in healthy families brothers and sisters treat each other with respect (most of the time at least!).


Every community needs leadership. The Refuge is based on the model of team leadership. While there is a clear authority structure with the Director and the Resident Support Workers, decisions made include the input from the resident leaders. All residents have to live by the same rules. No one in The Refuge community is above or beyond the “Community Guidelines” and the “Rule of Life.”


Expectations will be discussed and arrangements will be made prior to moving in. Applicants will complete a rental form, meet all conditions of IA to qualify or supply confirmation of their income from their employer. Rent is $400 per month and is payable on the first of the month. Out of the rent contributed above, each person gives a $10 deposit towards monthly cleaning [usually paid to the resident that does a larger share of that work] and $40 towards food for the evening meal.


Each person is responsible for their own food for breakfast or lunch. From the rent amounts above and contributions from Common Threads, food for a daily evening meal is overseen and organized by the residents. Evening meals are a community event. Some cook and prepare the meal while some volunteer to clean up. 

Alcohol and Drugs

The Refuge being a safe place means a place where alcohol and drugs will not be used or the use encouraged. While we have an understanding that people depend on the use of substances for a variety of reasons, we need to keep safety as a high priority. The abuse of substances, alcohol and using, possessing, or selling illegal drugs, or misusing prescription drugs or medication cannot be tolerated within or around the building. We want to be mindful of other members and neighbours who are vulnerable in this area when we are at outside social events together. Please use caution and discretion, being mindful of who you are with and others who are at the gathering. If a resident possesses or uses alcohol or drugs on the premises, they will be removed from the premises immediately.  


A personal file is kept for each resident. Medical information, records of prescription medication, doctor’s name, MSI number, and emergency contacts are contained in this file, as are admissions forms and statements of personal goals. This information is considered confidential and will be kept in a secure location by the Refuge team. 


Every group of people living together have to agree on some boundaries.

The purpose of our guidelines is to provide some boundaries that will help every member on their journey towards personal growth and health while maintaining a safe and supportive atmosphere for everyone. It is the minimum standard required of every member. The Community Guidelines are as important as each resident’s personal goals. They are the minimum standard required of every member. They have to do with how we relate to each other.


  • Willingness to embrace community life and personal growth.
  • Agree to a personal development plan during tenancy.   
  • Agree to submit to the leadership structure of The Refuge.
  • Maintain cleanliness in personal and shared areas.
  • Attentiveness to responsibilities and chores.
  • The payment of rent or other fees on time is required.
  • Physical violence towards people or the building will not be tolerated.
  • Sexual harassment will not be tolerated.
  • No verbal aggression and threats.
  • There will be no calling people down based on race, sex, or other differences.
  • Smoking is only permitted outside and away from the building.
  • No using, possessing, or selling illegal drugs, or misusing prescription drugs or medication. (We highly discourage contact with people who do these activities.)
  • No drinking, drunkenness or inebriation (inside or outside the building).
  • Sex outside of marriage is not encouraged as part of life at the Refuge.
  • No prostitution or related activities.
  • No participation in gang related activity.
  • Not possess or store firearms or other weapons.
  • Use communications technology in appropriate and positive ways only.
  • Visitors that are on the visitors list can visit in the living room and kitchen.
  • Attend weekly house meetings.
  • Participate in weekly cleaning time – as a group.
  • Create and follow through with personal goals – and weekly check ins regarding goals with support staff.

Everyone who is living in The Refuge agrees to these standards. They are in place for the health and safety of each person, and to help foster a positive living environment for all. Failure to adhere to any aspect of the “Community Guidelines” may be grounds for eviction or removal from the premises.


Rules of life began to be used about 1400 years ago by early Christians who lived in monastic communities. They were simple, practical documents that describe a way of life that those in a community lived by. They are not a set of laws that one can live up to or break. Rather, they are a way of measuring personal growth, setting goals, and a tool for self-reflection. They are not a heavy set of commandments or a contract. We understand our Rule of Life as a covenant that we are all journeying towards together. 

Our Rule of Life describes some areas we value growth in and would like to see everyone who is part of the Refuge grow in. If our “Community Guidelines” is the bare minimum, then our “Rule of Life” comprises our goals... what we hope to someday achieve and are currently working towards. It can be summed up like this:

  • Respect God
  • Respect Others
  • Respect Yourself
  • Respect Creation (includes Refuge space)

All are working towards:

  1. Developing positive anger management and conflict resolution skills.
  2. Growing in life skills and capacity and self-motivation building.
  3. Practicing sound financial management.
  4. Growing in our spiritual journey.
  5. Finding value and identity within our community and ourselves.
  6. Discovering, developing, and using our gifts and talents.
  7. Serving each other and our neighbourhood.
  8. Learning healthy ways of having fun.
  9. Being vulnerable and demonstrating this through openness.
  10. Practicing honesty and humility.
  11. Eating together regularly, where possible.
  12. Working together regularly.
  13. Becoming part of a wider social support network.

People will move on from The Refuge for a variety of reasons. All our residents will have specific goals that are tailored to the individual’s needs, as well as a timeline for achieving these goals. Once these goals are met or the time is up, the person will move out of 437 Main Street. It is our hope that each individual will remain connected with the positive, supportive relationships developed during his stay at The Refuge.

The basis for moving on and being successful are:

  • Achieving goals set at beginning of stay.
  • Change in life situation in which you no longer require the support of The Refuge.
  • Situations listed below that make living unsafe for oneself or others.


With the key ingredients of honesty, humility and openness for success at The Refuge, residents who struggle with being able to maintain this will have difficulty staying long enough to achieve their goals. We will attempt together with you work on this area. Also unresolved issues and actions that demonstrate a lack of an honest attempt to live by The Refuge “Community Guidelines” will result in someone “moving on”. Since our desire is to maintain a safe and healthy community, the following could result in an immediate removal from the premises: 

  1. Physical violence towards people or the residence.
  2. Sexual harassment.
  3. Verbal aggression and/or threats.
  4. Using, possessing, or selling illegal drugs, or misusing prescription drugs or medication at the Refuge.
  5. Drinking, drunkenness or inebriation (inside or outside the building) at the Refuge.
  6. Unauthorized guests overnight.
  7. Prostitution or related activities.
  8. Possession of firearms or other weapons.
  9. Viewing of Child pornography or other communications technology that demean any member of society.