PHS Community Services Society


Every night the PHS provides shelter and home to thousands of community members. Whether it is in an emergency shelter bed, a converted hotel or a purpose built social housing building.

The Portland Hotel was home for people who had been previously faced with repeated evictions and were in a housing crisis. The philosophy to “meet people where they are at” was developed in this project, and the staff and residents worked together to create a supportive community. Reversing the idea that individuals were meant to be “ready” for housing, the PHS rose to the challenge of how to develop the appropriate rules, mechanisms, training and support to meet the most urgent and unmet needs of this enormous and growing population.

This one hotel was viewed as a radical departure from previous approaches to housing people experiencing homelessness and living with addiction and mental health challenges.  This innovation led the way to shifts in housing policy that have established supported hotels and purpose built social housing among the roster of legitimate approaches taken by government to address homelessness. The PHS has gone on to operate many hotels, in addition to purpose built social housing units in it’s constant effort to improve the lives of people pushed to the margins.