London

Here's a look at the new winter shelter opening at Fanshawe Golf Course today

Trailers to house people experiencing homelessness have been set up around the Fanshawe Golf Course clubhouse for the winter shelter program that begins today.

Some residents are arriving over the next few days

The program is being led by Impact London. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Trailers to house people experiencing homelessness are set up around the clubhouse at Fanshawe Golf Course, just down from the lake.

This is part of the City of London's much-anticipated winter shelter program, led by Impact London, which launched today and will continue until March 1, 2022. 

Fanshawe Golf Course is one of the city's winter shelter sites. (James Chaarani/CBC)

The first 19 residents are arriving over the next few days but the plan is to accommodate a total of 33 people, the city said.

It's one of many programs the city is offering this winter for people experiencing homelessness. There are initiatives for people who want to stay in the downtown core, but this one happens to be at the edge of town by design. 

Residents of the program will be provided with supplies when they arrive. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"There are different people in different stages of their journey, and there are individuals out there, many individuals out there, who want to get out of their current situation," said Debbie Kramers with the City of London's housing stability services. 

"They want to leave the core, or they want to leave the riverside, or they want to leave the park that they're staying in. They would like assistance with housing and they would like to know how to do that."

The program is aimed at people who are much further along in their housing journey, and the goal is to get them housed. 

They'll have five full time Impact London staff to help and two security officers, 24/7.

Residents of the winter shelter program will be housed in trailers. (James Chaarani/CBC)
One of the units that will accommodate residents of the program this winter. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Despite shelters being set up on the golf course, the grounds won't be used for the program, although people can use the public land, Kramers said.

Winter homeless response at Fanshawe Golf Course

1 year ago
Duration 0:12
The City of London is facilitating a winter shelter at the Fanshawe Golf Course for people experiencing homelessness.

The clubhouse will be a common area for residents where they can relax, eat or watch television. It's also where the toilets and showers are, and the kitchen. 

The kitchen where meals will be prepared for residents, located in the clubhouse. (James Chaarani/CBC)

'Sense of community'

Those in the program can also socialize in the clubhouse with the other residents, which is a part of the program's intention, Kramers said. Organizers want to provide a "sense of community."

"One of the things that people don't realize is the lack of community when you live unsheltered," Kramers said. 

She said that for many, they might be living alone in a hut, tent or a doorway.

The lounge of the clubhouse where residents can relax, eat or socialize. (James Chaarani/CBC)
The view of Fanshawe Lake from the clubhouse. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"Last year, one of the greatest takeaways from our two winter locations was exactly that: the sense of community."

Residents won't be isolated to the golf course though. There will be a van with a driver available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. to take people to necessary appointments and meetings. It's unlikely that there will be Sunday service. 

Lived experience

Kramers said that they intentionally chose Impact London as their partner, pointing out that their staff have lived experience, and understand addiction and homelessness firsthand. 

George Clarke is site manager with Impact London. (James Chaarani/CBC)

"To think that you can go from the street and slowly transition your way back into society is a very daunting situation," said George Clarke, the site manager with Impact London. "A lot of people don't think that can ever happen."

"With our staff out here, that shows you that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that the journey is long and the journey is hard," he added. "But it can be done."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now