Investing in Our Community

Funding By The Numbers

All That Kids Can Be
19,741Clients Served
Healthy People, Strong Communities
9,951Clients Served
From Poverty to Possibility
29,403Clients Served
59,095Clients Served

Breakdown By Focus Area

Volunteers and professional staff annually review agency applications and recommend funding to our Board of Directors. We are grateful to all our volunteers who spend hours reviewing applications and visiting agencies.

Click for a full listing of our 2019 Citizens Review Panels
Click to learn more about Fund Distribution
Click to learn more about Fund Distribution through Grants

Helping Kids
Be All They Can Be

Our goal is to ensure children and youth are valued and supported, with opportunities and resources to help them reach their fullest potential.

Your Local Love in Action

The Food Sharing Project is the organization which provides breakfast, lunch and hearty snacks to almost half of the students in KFL&A at 88 elementary and secondary schools. We deliver $12,000 worth of nutritious food every week of the school year and our programs are offered to all students, regardless of need, in an inclusive environment.

Based on the needs of their students and the availability of space and volunteers, schools choose from a variety of models, such as sit-down breakfasts, hearty snacks in classroom bins or grab-and-go lunches. Students come to school without enough food for a variety of reasons and educators tell us that when they can eat nutritious food at school, students are more engaged in their learning, can focus better on tasks and can have more positive social interactions throughout the day.

Students tell us that the fresh food they have at school makes a difference for them. Elementary students tell us it makes them happy and they ask their families for “apples, like we have at school.” They tell us that they aren’t sure why but “Math is easier after I’ve had something to eat.” Secondary students tell us the food they pick up helps them “just get to class.”
In Kingston, there are so many families who are working hard to make ends meet but the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables or dairy products makes them out of reach. When we can feed their children at school, they can pay the rent and the hydro and put gas in the car to get to work.

With our United Way funding, we go right to the grocery store or a local supplier and purchase the food that helps a student take advantage of everything school has to offer. You can be confident that your donation to the United Way stays here, in KFL&A and supports students in our community.

We believe it takes a community to feed a child and, in this community, we are grateful that the United Way is here to help us all live with a sense of hope, dignity and belonging.
Brenda Moore,
The Food Sharing Project

Children and youth accessed programs to reach their highest potential

Building Strong
and Healthy Communities

The goal is to help people connect to supports they need, have positive mental health, and increase personal safety.

Your Local Love in Action

With the support of the United Way the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston has had a year to be proud of. Through our counselling, psychotherapy, and accompaniment services we supported more than 390 survivors of sexual violence, offering more than 3800, hours of free services.

Unfortunately, the demand continues to outpace our resources. Since the beginning of #metoo in 2017 we have seen a doubling of service demands. As a result, our wait list has gone from an average of four to eight weeks over the last two years. In 2019 we continued to see evidence that Kingston has a problem with sexual violence – the city had the highest rates of police reported sexual violence in Ontario, and the highest rate of reported sexual violence against children and youth.

However, our Centre is privileged to work in partnership with the United Way. Through their support we are addressing this local problem with a local solution. The United Way supported the Centre to increase our staffing capacity to eliminate the wait list for survivors between the ages of 12 and 19. In 2019, more than 100 survivors supported through this program waited an average of three days to be connected with a counsellor after their intake session. This is the power of the United Way.

Brea Hutchinson
Sexual Assault Centre Kingston

people were helped by programs and initiatives supporting personal wellbeing and safety

Moving People
from Poverty to Possibility

The goal is to help people by reducing the impact of poverty and improving access to shelter and affordable housing.

Your Local Love in Action

The Kingston Youth Shelter provides emergency shelter, transitional housing,
& family support for homeless youth ages 16-24 in Kingston.

The shelter opened in 1999 following an increase in homeless youth on the streets of Kingston. They had no place to go because all the shelters in the city wouldn’t take in anyone under the age of 18. The shelter started out as a band-aid and didn’t have a lot of resources or money and had just 8 beds.

It was a struggle for a number of years, but then United Way came in and adopted us. Things changed dramatically. We increased to 15 beds and kids could stay as long as they needed to. Our staff could take the time to help them with their appointments and schooling, help them with their medications.

Thanks to a generous donation from Brit Smith through the United Way, we were able to have a transition home for youth 16-19 and we are so grateful for that and we have another transition home for 16-24. Through the shelter and transitional homes youth learn life skills and they move on to college because of this support – 90 per cent of the kids at the transition homes work and
go to school and many volunteer and give back as well whenever they can.
Through the funds from the Kingston Penitentiary tours, we have also been able to hire a Family Mediation worker that works to keep kids at home with their families instead of them staying at the shelter– their success rate
is 97 per cent.

We are working to break the cycle of homelessness in adolescents. They are just learning about themselves and growing, they are just like any other kid, they just didn’t have that support, but they get it here.
No kid should have to go without the support that we can provide for them. They need to feel like they belong, feel like they are loved and feel like they are worthy and that is what we strive to do each day.

Our community and the support from the community is raising
these kids. Thank you for helping raise them.

Denise Lamb
Kingston Youth Shelter & Transition Homes

people were helpedby programs and initiatives in meeting their basic needs and moving them out of poverty

Plan to End
Youth Homelessness

On any given night, more than 6,000 young Canadians are homeless. Young people account for one in five of the people living in Canada’s homeless shelters.

In 2014, in Kingston, this figure was more acute: one in three shelter residents were between the ages of 15 and 24. As a result of community-wide efforts, in 2017, this number declined to one in five.

For five years, United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and local partners have been working collectively to help local youth move beyond their homelessness into safe, productive lives.

It became clear that focusing on prevention and providing timely intervention was key to making the complexities of youth homelessness a treatable, rather than chronic, issue. And so a vision emerged:

“By 2020, 80 per cent of youths who enter the homelessness system in KFL&A will be housed within 30 days.”

In order to realize our vision, we needed to think disruptively to ensure that every young person in KFL&A has a place to call home. We adopted a collective impact approach to effect dramatic, community-wide change, focusing on removing barriers that keep young people from accessing safe, suitable, and sustainable housing.

We engaged frontline agencies bringing them together, along with the private sector, all levels of government and the community. Most importantly, we sought input from young people who had experienced homelessness, or currently were homeless.

Through partnerships with school boards, shelters, and agencies, we recruited young people to talk about challenges and potential solutions. We learned that youth homelessness is different from adult homelessness, and needs to be addressed differently. Many homeless young people “couch surf” with friends or relatives, and are rarely counted among the homeless population.

2017 Youth Employment Strategy

Focusing Attention Where It’s Most Needed

Understanding youth homelessness and its root causes enabled us to focus our attention and efforts on the areas of greatest impact

Homelessness Prevention: Through education and awareness in schools and the community

Integrated System of Care: Systems and protocols that are easy and convenient for youth to access

More Housing Options: More transitional and affordable housing options, with resources tailored to the needs of youth

Regional Options for Rural Youth: Supports for youth in rural communities

Education and Awareness:

A comprehensive awareness campaign was developed and launched, featuring stories of youth who have experienced homelessness and successfully obtained support.

  • Targeted intervention for youth at risk and youth who are homeless
  • Increased awareness of the issue of youth homelessness among students, educators and families
  • Reduced stigma associated with youth homelessness
    among the general public

Forums: Youth spoke about the need to educate their peers and educators on the causes of youth homelessness and what can be done to prevent it.

  • United Way Youth Council organizes an annual youth forum
  • Local school boards work with United Way to coordinate an annual forum for educators

More Housing Options

The greatest need for homeless youth remains housing. We work closely with partners to transform the homelessness services system and provide more affordable housing options that meet the needs of youth.

Transitional Housing: for youth, transitional housing is often an important step toward permanent housing. With a new six-person transitional home for youth aged 16-19, Kingston now offers supportive housing options for 24 youth, for up to 24 months.

Expanding the Role of Emergency Shelter: since the shelter is often the first point of contact for many homeless youth, it’s important that services include, not just beds, but access and referrals to prevention, diversion and housing services.

Pilot Programs and Solutions

Based on what we heard from youth, the steering committee designed pilot programs that have been extremely successful:

Family Mediation: supportive services to address conflict and facilitate healthy reunions between youth and their families.

Youth Outreach: mobile program that provides cognitive therapy and referrals for youth with mental health issues.

Intersections: intervention and coordination of services for children and youth under 18 who are at risk of becoming involved with the justice system.

LGBTQ+ Mental Health: a peer program that addresses the mental health needs of gender-diverse youth, providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth.


Skills Development: The Youth Employment Strategy includes recommendations to address barriers and challenges preventing youth from entering and staying in the workplace.

Hub for Marginalized Youth: One Roof is a new partnership between 20 organizations providing a range of services to homeless youth in one convenient location.

Transitional Life Skills Program: to help youth with intellectual disabilities who are homeless or precariously housed.

System Mapping and Protocol Development: Closing Gaps in Early Response Services: we coordinate prevention, diversion, and housing-first services to reduce pressures on th system and ensure services are accessible and youth-friendly.

Exploring Policy Changes: we continue to review the system and policies to ensure that changes implemented best meet the needs of youth.

Kingston Point in Time Count

Next Steps

The approach is working. In 2014, one of every three people in KFL&A emergency shelters was under 24. Today, one in five falls into this demographic. We’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of people, homeless in downtown Kingston, who were youth.

As United Way and its partners continue to work toward making youth homelessness a treatable condition, they will continue to take their cues from young people. The ever-growing suite of resources will soon include efforts to address homelessness in rural parts, and services for Indigenous youth.

For more information about the youth homelessness initiative and for a 2019 report, please visit: