Windsor

City of Windsor in process of purchasing a hotel for people experiencing homelessness

The City of Windsor is in the process of purchasing a hotel to house people experiencing homelessness. 

City says council approved the purchase earlier this year

The city said it expects to have the purchase of the hotel finalized in the coming weeks. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

The City of Windsor is purchasing a hotel to house people experiencing homelessness. 

The city's chief of staff, Andrew Teliszewsky, told CBC News in an email Wednesday that city council had approved the deal during an in-camera meeting earlier this year and the legal steps are already underway. 

He said the city is also working out getting access to provincial funding sources to complete the sale in the coming weeks. The costs associated with the purchase have not yet been revealed. 

Though the city's homeless population is currently experiencing a significant COVID-19 outbreak, Teliszewksy said the procurement of a space had been a topic of discussion since last year following an Emergency Shelter Review that went to council in the fall of 2020. 

He added that beyond the current challenges the city is experiencing with COVID-19 and shelter space, the hotel will be used to support long-term needs by providing an area for women with or without children, youth and young adults. 

"Proceeding with a property will allow the City of Windsor maximum flexibility in the years ahead to serve community needs," Teliszewsky said. 

Details of the hotel's location could not be provided at this time, he added, as the owner is still having conversations with employees. 

Ron Dunn, executive director of the Downtown Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in the region, said Wednesday that he's just learning about the pending hotel purchase.

Despite the city helping the Mission deal with a large COVID-19 outbreak at its facilities, Dunn said this news hasn't come up in conversations. 

The city supported Dunn in opening an emergency shelter on Feb. 25 at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre after the Downtown Mission locations were ordered to close by the health unit.

Though Dunn says he doesn't know the details of the city's shelter plans, he's looking forward to seeing it rollout. 

"I think this is a great, progressive move for the city. I've been waiting really to see some action on the Emergency Shelter Review," he said. 

Dunn said he pushed for and took part in the review last year. 

The review, he added, also looked at the need for equal funding of the city's three homeless shelters, as his isn't funded at all and the other two receive different amounts. 

At this time, Dunn said that regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, he is working to welcome people back in to shelter locations by the end of March. 

As of Monday, 124 clients and staff have tested positive between the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army shelters. 

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