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LETTER: The case for affordable, supportive housing in Guelph

Kindle Communities is 'proposing a vibrant, modern apartment building' for housing
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GuelphToday received the following letter from Raechelle Devereaux, Greg Jones, and Sheila Markle regarding supportive housing:

Here we go again. Permanent Supportive Housing belongs here.

Change isn’t always easy. In 2001, Family & Children’s Services Guelph Wellington purchased a vacant school for the purpose of building a community hub for the Willow Road area. There was some opposition at that time, because some people believed it would attract problems and “problem people.”

Today, that old school is the Shelldale Centre, a vibrant centre of the community. It has added considerably to the lives of the families, children, youth and adults who use the services at the centre.

We are here again with a proposal that will meet the needs of our community. And again, change isn’t easy.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidence-based, cost-effective solution for housing people who need homes. Guelph-Wellington has committed to ending homelessness by 2023. As a broader community, we have made incredible progress towards this goal.

Kindle communities – along with its partners, Skyline Group of Companies and the Guelph Community Health Centre (Guelph CHC) – have a clear vision and plan to build an apartment building that will allow the Willow Road area to become home to approximately 30 of the 150 community members who currently have nowhere to live. These individuals will have 24/7 support provided directly within their building.

People living in PSH will need all different types of support. Like any of your neighbours, some will have physical disabilities or mental health challenges. All of these individuals are members of our community, and are in our neighbourhoods already. PSH is a way to meet a basic human need of stable housing, and to wrap 24-hour care and support around them. It will make our community a healthier, safer place. What better lesson to teach our children?

The services and supports that will be provided to tenants will be delivered through our primary health care partner, the Guelph CHC, a respected and established community organization with a focus on health equity for Guelph’s priority populations. Guelph CHC delivers a range of supports, from food access to counselling, primary health care to harm reduction and many services for families and children. These services are safely and effectively delivered alongside each other.

What’s more, our proposed building will offer many community enhancements. Our PSH will be a vibrant, modern apartment building. In the coming weeks we will be consulting with our community about our vision for the property, which will be well lit, landscaped, and have a walkways that will improve walkability for all neighbours. We welcome dialogue from our neighbours about their vision for how this new building can contribute to the neighbourhood.

Our three partners are in this for the long haul. We are making a long-term investment to make our community a better place - together. We are proud of Guelph-Wellington for showing leadership to address our city’s housing crisis, and we are proud of our many neighbours who have reached out to us to express their interest and support for this proposal.

Change isn’t easy. It is natural to have questions about concepts such as PSH. As we enter the next stage of the development process in the coming weeks and months, our project team welcomes these questions and dialogue about our vision and workable plan for this project in our community. We invite neighbours to learn more and ask questions by visiting our website, attending our open houses on Dec. 14 and 15, or by contacting us directly.

Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to live. Permanent Supportive Housing belongs here.

Raechelle Devereaux, Executive Director, Guelph CHC
Greg Jones, President, SkyDev
Sheila Markle, CEO, Kindle Communities