Our Vision

To provide meaningful work experience for those who have graduated from Cambridge Shelter.

Our mission is to offer professional yard & garden services that will make our customers feel proud of the impact they are making in their own backyard.

Why we're doing this:

Our goal as Cambridge Shelter is to create an end-to-end solution to homelessness in the Waterloo Region, from shelter intake, to recovery, to housing, to employment, to community reintegration, and finally to permanent employment. We do this by journeying with our clients at every step in the process to provide guidance and support, enabling them to achieve their goals. 

It is always an exciting day when an individual graduates from our shelter and moves into permanent housing. It signals an important point for someone’s journey and the significant challenges and barriers they have endured to reach this goal. However, we know permanent housing is not the end to homelessness. Some clients struggle in this transition and end up re-entering the shelter system.

Through client interviews, we learned that finding stable employment and an empathetic employer was a common issue after graduating from the shelter. Clients felt a desire to give back to community and be part of something bigger, but lacked opportunity to do so in their day-to-day lives.

We believe that by becoming an empathetic and low-barrier employer for those who graduate from our shelter system, we are creating a preventative solution to homelessness through meaningful employment.

How we're doing it:

In our Backyard is taking a preventative measure to homelessness by creating a model that prevents clients from entering or re-entering the shelter system, while also creating social change at a community level.

We have two primary social impact goals for this social enterprise:

1) Offer Cambridge Shelter graduates meaningful work experience at a fair wage.

2) Challenge the perception of homelessness in our community. 

Providing gig-based work experiences to previously unhoused individuals now living in transitional or permanent housing, will not only provide income, but also stability, a work routine, and a reference for more permanent work.

The goal is to offer stable employment at a critical point in our client’s journey to reintegration, which is when they first move into a market rental apartment from the shelter. That, combined with wraparound support and mentorship from the social enterprise and shelter staff, will create a positive impact on a population level and reduce the number of our clients re-entering the system.

The secondary goal of this social enterprise will also address the stigma of homelessness in our community.

Having our clients trained in customer service doing work in residential neighbourhoods will provide positive customer experiences and ultimately change perceptions of homelessness, one household at a time. This change will lead to more positive perceptions of Cambridge Shelter and homelessness in the region, which will ultimately allow for us to advocate for more homelessness support at a community level.

Cambridge Shelter is excited to use this enterprise as a way to change the conversation around homelessness in our Region.

What we do:

In our Backyard offers Garden & Yard services to household and commercial customers in the Waterloo Region.

We are Landscape Ontario certified, fully insured, and our team is led by a seasoned industry professional with over 20 years of experience in horticulture and landscaping.

When you hire In our Backyard, you are hiring a crew of motivated team members who are working to challenge the stereotypes of homelessness, one home at a time.

Our Service Offers

Our partner:

Cambridge Shelter partnered with The Community Company to research, brand, and launch In our Backyard. Over a one year period, the vision for this project was created and validated through stakeholder interviews in the community.

The Community Company is a Certified B Corporation that works with leading charities to create sustainable social enterprises. To learn more about their work, visit their website at www.communitycompany.org