Feds pledge $464K for housing homeless people with addictions in Kitchener

The federal government is offering more than $464,000 to help set up transitional housing for people who are homeless and battling addiction in Kitchener.

Funding will create housing for 9 people as well as offer 24-hour medical and support services

Joe Mancini of The Working Centre talks about the need for transitional housing in Kitchener. The former rooming house on Water Street N., is being renovated to include nine housing units for people who are homeless and struggling with addictions. It will also include a medical centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

The federal government is offering more than $464,000 to help set up transitional housing for people who are homeless and battling addiction in Kitchener.

The cash will create housing for nine people in a home on Water Street N. that's owned and operated by The Working Centre, a non-profit battling unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener.

The house will also have 24-hour on-site medical and support services.

The funding was announced Thursday by Liberal MP Adam Vaughan as part of the federal government's National Housing Co-Investment Fund.

Vaughan said while nine units might not sound like much, transitional housing is critical to helping people get off the streets.

"When you deal with a housing crisis, you have to deal with every stop along the way. It's a housing continuum," he said. "It's not just simply building social housing and get it done. You've got to fit little projects in between because it's the in between and the cracks that people fall between."

Thursday's announcement also acknowledged a number of other donors to the project, including the Savvas Chamberlain Fund and the Waterloo Region Crossing Trek.

A space where people can be comfortable

The building was previously considered as a potential location of a supervised consumption site.

Joe Mancini of The Working Centre said when the region decided to go with a location on Duke Street W., they pivoted.

Now, construction is underway to convert the building into housing units and a medical clinic. If all goes smoothly, he hopes to have the units ready for people to move in next February.

Mancini said on any given night, there are 400 people in Waterloo region who are homeless.

The Working Centre is setting up other projects to help with that, but that supportive housing is an important piece.

"This site is about really focusing on the individual with drug addiction, so we have kind of specialized services so they can feel comfortable in this space," he said.

Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was in Kitchener to make the funding announcement Thursday morning. The federal government is funding $464,000 of the project, which will create nine transitional housing units and a medical centre on Water Street N. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)


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