FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2022
Today, the Region of Waterloo and House of Friendship are launching a behind-the-scenes look at renovations now underway at House of Friendship’s new shelter location at 190 Weber St. N. through a new video (at www.AroundtheRegion.ca/HouseofFriendship). The video highlights the Region’s substantial support of ShelterCare, through $570,000 in annual capital financing support towards the mortgage and renovation costs of this facility, in addition to annual operating funding.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Region of Waterloo on this program,” said Executive Director John Neufeld. “By investing in ShelterCare, along with their role in providing a region-wide emergency shelter network, the Region is showing its strong commitment to address Waterloo Region’s homelessness crisis, along with a willingness to take risks and try new approaches to a complex and challenging problem.”
With ShelterCare, 100 men who are experiencing homelessness will not only have staff support and a safe place to stay 24/7, they will also have access to wraparound services onsite including primary health care, mental health and addiction supports, and help to secure permanent housing. With these supports, individuals can become healthier and housed, exiting the cycle of homelessness for good.
“Housing and homelessness are important priorities for our community,” said Karen Redman, Chair of the Region of Waterloo. “As we address these complex challenges, we are grateful to have a number of innovative partners throughout the region like the House of Friendship. We look forward to the opening of the new facility and the impact it will have on our residents.”
Since the purchase of the former Comfort Inn earlier this year, detailed renovation plans were developed to ensure this facility would support the best possible outcomes for the individuals we will serve here, and to ensure that House of Friendship is a good neighbour.
These renovations are now underway and include:
Renovations are expected to be completed by fall of this year. In the interim, House of Friendship will continue to provide transitional housing services at its former shelter location at 63 Charles St. E. in Kitchener.
“Now is the time to get this facility right. We must have the long-term in mind and do all we can to set this up for success so that the individuals who come to this ShelterCare program will achieve their best possible outcomes. We cannot short change the process,” said Executive Director John Neufeld. “By creating dedicated spaces for medical care, intake and counselling, medical isolation, as well as communal areas to build community and belonging, we know that we will see better outcomes for the individuals, our staff and our neighbours.”
ShelterCare will soon be a stable reality in our community thanks to multiple levels of government coming alongside the vision to make it happen. The purchase of 190 Weber St. N. in Waterloo was made possible thanks to $8.5 million in capital funding received from the Province of Ontario towards the purchase of this location, as announced by MPP Mike Harris, the capital financing and operational support from the Region of Waterloo, and a $2.5 million social finance loan from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation.
The City of Waterloo has also been an incredible partner by providing excellent support and guidance through the building permit process, and helping facilitate open communication with our new neighbours.
WalterFedy is providing design and engineering support for this project, with Nith Valley Construction serving as the general contractor.
House of Friendship will be providing project updates as available at www.houseoffriendship.org/shelterupdates.