Kitchener-Waterloo

Bridges shelter in Cambridge needs more space to grow, considers move

The Cambridge Shelter Corporation says the Bridges is currently serving nearly double the number of clients it was initially built to help and it's time to consider a move to another location.

Officials say move may be necessary because they've outgrown current Simcoe Street location

The Cambridge Shelter Corporation says the Bridges is currently serving nearly double the number of clients it was initially built to help and it's time to consider a move to another location. (Google street view)

The Bridges shelter in Galt has outgrown the building it's in currently and is exploring the possibility of moving, officials with the Cambridge Shelter Corporation say.

The Bridges is currently located on Simcoe Street, but the corporation said a new location would better meet the needs of people who are struggling with homelessness.

"With an increase in demand, we have experienced pressures within our organization that have been impacting on the quality of the supports we have been providing," Julie Watts, chair of the board of directors, said in the statement.

"We have addressed these issues internally and have come to realize we need to review how our current building supports our future needs and goals."

Shelter serving more clients than intended

The Bridges, which was built in 2005, doesn't have much recreational or green space, she said.

As well, the building was meant to house 40 clients. Now, there are 78 emergency shelter beds for men, women and families.

Watts said they are in the early stages "but we are very excited about the possibility of being able to take the organization to the next level."

The corporation will create a site selection committee with community members. That committee will make a recommendation to the board.

They will also conduct public and neighbourhood consultation while also surveying staff, clients and board members.

Mayor Doug Craig said the Bridges has been a big part of the city since it opened.

"The staff have helped many of our most vulnerable residents find their path and the Bridges will continue to be part of an empathetic solution in our city," he said in the statement.

"We support their collaborative efforts with the community to meaningfully help those who are homeless, and those who are precariously close to becoming homeless."

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