The town hall’s innovative winter homeless plan includes accommodation on golf courses

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The town hall's innovative winter homeless plan includes accommodation on golf courses

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Author of the article:

Megan Stacey

Publication date:

October 27, 202112 minutes agoRead for 2 minutes Join the conversation (File photo) (File photo)

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City Hall is launching a new winter plan for homeless Londoners with drop-in space at the core, a stabilization room on Hamilton Road and two isolated accommodations on the city’s golf courses.

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It’s a $ 1.9 million approach – funded by Ottawa and Queen’s Park – that builds on last year’s teachings, officials say.

“We’ve honestly learned a lot since responding last year,” said Kevin Dickins, City Hall’s housing manager. “The direct feedback from the program participants has led to new ideas.”

This year’s proposal, which was published on Wednesday and will go to city politicians next week, includes three types of aid:

  • The downtown YMCA will be open day and night to people who need something to eat or a place to sleep or shower. It will serve about 40 people at a time.
  • The Canadian Mental Health Association will operate a “stabilization room” in their building at 371 Hamilton Rd, where police and field workers can connect someone who needs immediate mental health or addiction help, including a few days to get back on their feet get. There will be five to ten places.
  • For those who need a long-term course in the colder months, new pop-up shelters with construction trailers are being built on the Fanshawe Golf Course and the River Road Golf Course. They should each accommodate 30 to 35 people.

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All four rooms will be ready to welcome people by December 1st, provided it is approved by the council, city officials promised.

Food and drinks as well as items for basic needs are offered at all four locations.

Drop-in room at Y is for urgent needs and quick stays. The stabilization room is designed to help keep people away from the emergency rooms and prison cells of hospitals by providing the necessary health care and social support.

The pop-up shelters, which are again being built with construction trailers, are intended for people who have a private space and want to build a community while promoting health and housing. Social services are brought to these emergency shelters on the north and east edges of the city, and transport is also provided for people who want or need to visit agencies or other places during the day.

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Atlohsa will operate the River Road site, which is dedicated to indigenous people who are over-represented among the homeless population in London.

Impact London, a grassroots agency run by people with lived experience, will lead the shelter at Fanshawe Golf Course.

City hall officials say those who stayed in the pop-up shelters last year – built in McMahon Park and a parking lot on the corner of Colborne and York Streets – requested more secluded spaces to protect their privacy.

“We’re nowhere near driving the homeless out of London, but we’re creating a safe place for the people,” said Dickins. “It’s not exactly inviting to be homeless on the main street in London. They want rooms that are a little more discreet and private so they can do the work they need to do. “

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