Our Story

Our Place is a registered non-profit agency that provides shelter, support and hope for homeless and at-risk youth aged 16-24 in the Region of Peel.

What we do

Through our emergency shelter and outreach programs, we support and empower youth facing homelessness in Peel region, to take control of their lives and make a healthy, new start.

Our Vision

All youth have a place to call home.

Our Mission

Empowering youth through prevention, intervention and support in accessing safe and sustainable housing.

History of Our Place Peel

In 1985, Our Place opened a 6-bed residential program in Brampton in response to the community’s growing need for services to help youth at risk for homelessness. Since then, we have expanded to a second location in Mississauga.

From 1989 to 2020, we have continued to grow our resources and our team – this includes opening a 14-bed emergency shelter and launching multiple programs, such as our H.Y.P.E (Helping Youth Prepare Effectively) Outreach Program and our Resource Room. Since opening our doors, we have also successfully implemented our Outreach Initiative aimed at bridging the gap between shelter and community, as well as many more important initiatives.

Although we are proud of our accomplishments over the last 35 years, we know that there is still a lot to be done and we look forward to continuing to improve the lives of youth who are disadvantaged and experiencing homelessness in the Region of Peel.

New brand. Same mission.

In 2020, Our Place conducted a brand evaluation and subsequent rebrand that better represents where we are as an organization and where we plan to be in the future. Say hello to our new brand.

Old logo

New logo

Our Team

Christy Upshall

Chief Executive Officer
 

Christy Upshall has been a part of the Our Place Peel team for more than 10 years. As Executive Director, Christy oversees all aspects of the organization, including the residential programs and any new programs. She is responsible for fundraising, fiscal responsibility and providing leadership support to the management team. Christy also ensures that the agency’s goals, values and mission are being met and leads the agency into further expansion.

After completing her BA from the University of Western Ontario and her Diploma in Child and Youth Work from Humber College, Christy worked at YSAP (Youth Substance Abuse Program), where she gained in-depth experience with youth addictions. While at YSAP, Christy decided to pursue a career working for a non-profit organization which supported youth. She chose Our Place Peel because it offers a one of a kind program in the Region of Peel, helping empower youth and putting the youths’ needs first and foremost.

Christy finds it very rewarding to see youth build the confidence to meet and exceed the goals they set for themselves and to look into the future with a positive outlook. “OPP is extremely important for the community as we are the only emergency shelter for homeless youth within the Region of Peel,” says Christy. “The Region has grown over the years and the need to support youth who are in need of shelter or who are at-risk is more important than ever. We have to recognize that youth are not just leaders of tomorrow but also of today and, at the end of the day, our young people will be the ones who will shape the future.”

She also appreciates the support the organization receives from the community. “I am always amazed at the commitment of the many volunteers who work endless hours to support the work that we do with in the community. Without volunteers, our work would suffer as we rely on them to support the youth, to guide the agency and to raise funds to ensure that Our Place Peel can thrive. Volunteers give up their free time to help make the community a better place.”

There are a variety of different reasons why young people end up homeless, yet the need for services and programs to assist these young people remain the same. With Christy’s passionate leadership, Our Place Peel will continue to support these youth so they can have a better future.

Madelaine Hewitt

Manager of Residential Services

Lucas Hunter

Manager of Outreach Services
 

Lucas Hunter is a child and youth practitioner and has spent the last 11+ years working with children, youth, and families with complex needs. He has worked in a variety of settings such as group homes and residential treatment, hospitals and community health clinics, community outreach, school-based and juvenile justice programs as well as in private practice and family support programs. Lucas’ passion is working with children and youth using therapeutic relationships to promote their optimal physical, psycho-social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional development that will lead them to a healthy and productive adulthood, with a focus on strengths.

Dani Mills

Sr. Manager of Outreach and Program Development

​Dani Mills is the Sr. Manager of Outreach and Program Development for Our Place Peel. For the past six years Dani has been a part of system and leading practice development amongst the youth shelter system, in hopes for a system wide low barrier focus. Dani is hardworking, ethical, driven and inclusive, with the ability to deliver client-centered program results.

Dani’s passion to help youth derives from personal experiences, and works to provide safety, and choice, while impacting the systems to support youth and their specific needs. Dani has extensive clinical experience counselling youth within treatment centres, the American prison system, as well through athletics.

“In my eyes there is no such thing as “hard-to-serve” youth, there is only misunderstood emotions and impulses trying to communicate their feelings and needs in the only way they may know.”

Our Board Members

Christopher Dickson

Director

Pamela Mollica

Vice-Chair

Deborah Legrove

Board Member

Iqbal Ali

Treasurer

Manny Banwait

Board Member

Sangeeta Bajaj

Director

Susan deRyk

Board Chair

Doug Thomas

Secretary

Sherry Duffy

Board Member

Shruti Naik

Board Member

Our Sponsors

At Our Place, we are lucky enough to have the support of some amazing organizations. Thank you so much to all of you, we couldn’t do what we do without you.