In late 1988, Kate Millar noticed that there were a lot of young people living on the streets of downtown Kitchener. With the help of others in the community, Kate began working with youth who were experiencing homelessness, or who were at-risk of becoming homeless. In 1989, a friend donated office space to Kate, and ROOF was officially born.
In 1990, ROOF moved into a facility at Duke and College Streets. While at this location, ROOF began to define a set of values and principles that were to become the foundation of the present day agency. In 1991, ROOF moved into 43 Cedar St. N., in Kitchener. During this time, ROOF increased services to seven days per week, added a connective outreach program, added a food hamper program, created a more comprehensive volunteer training program, and added trained counsellors to its team. On March 1, 1996, ROOF began its partnership in the Betty Thompson Youth Centre, which increased its capacity to provide service to high risk youth.