Ground was broken on the new Kindle Communities supportive housing building Wednesday, with 32 bachelor units to house unhoused people or those facing homelessness in Guelph.
The Ontario government announced Wednesday that it is contributing $3 million to the project.
The land where the supportive housing building is situated on was donated to Kindle Communities from Skyline.
The units are not up for grabs yet. Eligible tenants will have to be registered with The County of Wellington and apply through its housing services.
“The fact that we're creating supportive housing units, these bachelor units that have wraparound services, really is showing us because of the pandemic, how the next generation of community housing will take place,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for Ontario.
With all of the work of people trying to solve homelessness there is still a dire housing situation for those in Guelph and Wellington County who are living with a lower income, said Sheila Markle, through the experience of being the former CEO of Kindle Communities and executive director Family and Children's Services of Guelph and Wellington County.
“For those that will live here, it means not spending energy on where to sleep, where to eat, how to survive day after day,” said Markle.
“As a result, it seems seamless, because we had so much support,” she said. “The opportunity to create a home for 32 individuals in our community was compelling. Kindle believes in creating healthy and caring communities where everyone has a sense of belonging.”
MP Lloyd Longfield recalls having a conversation with Markle about addressing the needs of people in the community with different equity. "It’s not just the easy to house people," he said.
This supportive housing building aims to ensure the more vulnerable people in the community have a place to build a life they deserve, said Longfield.
“No matter who you are in a community, you deserve a chance to create a better future for yourself. All of that starts with having a home,” he said.
The supportive housing building is neighbour to a Guelph Community Health Centre (GCHC) sattelite location, Shelldale Family Gateway and EarlyON Centre. The support is in their backyard.
“Many of the folks that will be living in this building will have and continue to experience lots of challenges and you can't just house them and expect all of those challenges to disappear.”
People who experience chronic homelessness are often stigmatized and judged on how they ended up homeless with substance use issues they use as a coping mechanism, said Markle.