Kitchener-Waterloo

House of Friendship finds shelter for 70 men formerly living in Guelph hotel

House of Friendship says 70 men who were living at a hotel in Guelph have all moved back to the region and 10 of them have found permanent housing.

All of the men have moved back to the region, and some have found housing

Of the 70 homeless men who returned to the region, 25 were able to find shelter at within the broader shelter system in the region, while 10 were able to find permanent housing. (Dominic Martel/Radio-Canada)

The House of Friendship in Kitchener has found temporary winter shelter and housing for 70 men who were living at a hotel in Guelph.

In early November, House of Friendship thought it was going to have to temporarily close its emergency shelter because the organization was told it needed to find a new location by the end of the month.

House of Friendship executive director John Neufeld says a solution was found for the shelter before Nov. 30 and 10 people found permanent housing.

"That's ultimately what we're all working toward — that individuals receive their own housing and continue to progress," said Neufeld.

"Our goal is not to have someone staying with us forever and ever. It is getting them ready to move into housing, have the support to successfully stay housed. So that many individuals were able to do that. We're very excited."

Twenty-five men will be temporarily housed at the organization's former location at 63 Charles St. E. in Kitchener following a partnership with the Region of Waterloo. The agency is providing a shelter care model with transitional housing. 

"So they have 24/7 support," Neufeld said, "and they stay there with us just because we don't want them to lose all the progress they've been making."

Neufeld says 25 people have moved into one of various shelter systems in the Region of Waterloo while the remainder have either moved in with family and friends or out of the region.

In early November, CBC K-W reported that for the first time in its 82-year history, House of Friendship was being forced to temporarily close its emergency shelter. 

Neufeld says it's good news but the region is still in catch-up mode.

"The rate of homelessness has increased so quickly," said Neufeld.

"But we're also trying new things, you know, trying different approaches, innovating. And I think it's just everyone coming together, working together, helping each other out that we're here."

Earlier this year, the temporary shelter was operated out of the Inn of Waterloo, but a fire last February forced them out.

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