Temporary shelter at A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener to close

The temporary shelter set up by the region at A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener is no longer taking people in and will close at the end of the month. The region says it's working on a plan to house people who used the shelter.
The A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener opened its doors as a temporary shelter for the homeless March 26. The temporary shelter will close on June 28. (Submitted by Peter Sweeney)

The temporary shelter set up three months ago at the A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener will close at the end of the month.

The YMCA's website says the shelter provided people with a safe place to go during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Waterloo region in Stage 2 of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan, the YMCA is preparing to return to regular operations. The temporary shelter is anticipated to close on June 28.

"With the help of the YMCA and its family centre, we were able to provide shelter to over 200 people experiencing homelessness through the most difficult times of the pandemic," the YMCA said in a message on its website.

The region's CAO Mike Murray was asked about the closure during a regular media briefing on Friday and said staff are working on a plan to help people who are homeless.

"Regional staff and a whole host of community partners are working on the transition plan for shelters," Murray said. "Looking both at short, medium and long-term alternatives for what is the shelter system going to look like post-pandemic."

Murray said the focus right now is on the short term, such as where to move people who have been living at the A.R. Kaufman YMCA, but they also have to start "very quickly also thinking about how do we provide adequate capacity in the shelter system in a pandemic world where people need a little more physical space and we want to try to create a health and safe space for everyone."


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