On Dec. 2, 2022, we were thrilled to find out that House of Friendship would be receiving $1.6 million from the Province of Ontario, as part of its Roadmap to Wellness plan to enhance mental health and addictions programs throughout Ontario.
This funding is a critical piece of the puzzle to provide wraparound, onsite health care, including mental health and addiction supports, for the individuals we serve who often come to our shelter program with complex needs.
The announcement came the same day that Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo, enjoyed a tour of our new Shelter building, currently under construction. During his visit, Minister Tibollo shared his support of the ShelterCare model of care – “I am looking forward to seeing the completion of this 100-bed shelter, as it is facilities like ShelterCare that will help enhance the continuum of care and break the cycle of relapse and homelessness.”
We’re excited as well, and look forward to our planned opening in January 2023!
If you’ve driven by 190 Weber St. N. in Waterloo recently, you have likely wondered how the renovations are going at our new ShelterCare location and when we might be ready to start providing service there.
As the urgency continues for more shelter spaces in our region, we continue to do all we can to see the completion of these renovations. The reality is, the extent of renovations needed in this facility has become much larger than originally anticipated, all amidst a time of labour and material shortages. We are fully committed to ensuring we create a facility that will provide the required care for those it is being designed to serve, and not take shortcuts that affect participant outcomes.
We are now working towards an anticipated opening of this new location in January 2023. This delay is really difficult news given the urgent need for shelter spaces in our community and the cold weather coming. We will continue to support individuals at our former shelter location until that time, and collaborate with our partners across the region on interim solutions.
As we work to get our ShelterCare program open, we acknowledge that we don’t do it alone. We are so grateful for the support from our partners at the City of Waterloo, Region of Waterloo, and other municipal partners, to get this facility completed and operational.
ShelterCare is one solution, but we need many more. We are grateful for and support the Region of Waterloo’s new Interim Housing Solutions Strategy to address this crisis of homelessness in Waterloo Region. The immediate and short-term actions in the strategy, the services that will be provided by our ShelterCare program, and the longer-term solutions that will be developed in the Region’s Homelessness Master Plan, will all be critical elements as the community collectively works towards region-wide solutions to ending homelessness.
If you have any questions regarding the Region of Waterloo’s new Interim Housing Solutions Strategy, please call 519-575-4400.
If you have any questions about ShelterCare, please contact Gail Martin, Marketing & Communications Specialist, at 519-742-8327 x 132, or email@example.com.
Here are some photos of the work underway!
Earlier this year, we announced a new home for our ShelterCare program, with the purchase of 190 Weber St. N in Waterloo (formerly Comfort Inn), thanks to $8.5 million in capital funding received from the Province of Ontario as announced by MPP Mike Harris, along with capital financing support of $570,000 annually from the Region of Waterloo, and a $2,000,000 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.
Renovations are now underway.
Work has begun to make this new building ready to provide the ShelterCare model — 24/7 shelter and staffing, along with onsite medical care, addiction and mental health counselling, housing supports, and other programming. With these wrap around services, we know men experiencing homelessness can become healthier and housed.
Thanks to WalterFedy (providing project design and engineering support) and general contractor Nith Valley Construction for their great work on undertaking renovations that include the creation of an onsite medical clinic, dedicated areas for medical isolation, communal spaces for gatherings including group programs and services, as well as dedicated spaces for intake, counselling and housing supports. In addition to efficiency upgrades, significant changes are also required to add accessibility to this facility. We are also improving external elements like fencing.
These renovations are designed to ensure the best possible outcomes for those will be served at this location.
We will continue to share ShelterCare renovation updates on this page, as well in our Friendship News newsletter and on our social media channels. To see how you can help, visit www.houseoffriendship.org/donate.
As part of our commitment to keeping our neighbours informed, we provided this communication to the surrounding area on the morning of Jan. 12.
In November 2021, we announced the temporary pause in our shelter services while we worked towards securing a long-term location to run our innovative ShelterCare program. To read the updates we provided at the time, please click on the links below.