Supportive Housing Moving from Loyola House to Local Hotel

Time was running out for the people who have living in Loyola House for the last year as the County of Wellington’s lease for their Loyola House Supportive Temporary Accommodation Pilot (LHSTAP) was due to run out on Tuesday. Well, there’s good news for the temporary residents of Loyola House because they are moving down to the other end of Woodlawn for the foreseeable future.

Wellington County announced on Friday that the 45 residents of Loyola House will be moving to the Holiday Inn Express at 540 Silvercreek Parkway North by the November 30 end date of their contract with Loyola House, which will soon begin planned renovations.

“We are very thankful for the partnership we’ve been able to cultivate with the Ignatius Jesuit Centre,” said Warden Kelly Linton in a statement. “Finding innovative solutions to help adults and youth with the appropriate supports and housing placements is key to ending chronic homelessness in our communities, and we hope to partner with Loyola House again in the future.”

The pilot was launched last October when people started moving from temporary accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express established at the beginning of the pandemic, to Loyola House which is on the property of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre at the north end of Guelph. Along with offering emergency shelter, the new model was meant to offer onsite healthcare and offer more direct help to residents so thy might find more permanent housing.

Before the move last fall, Wellington County reported that they had helped move 31 people into permanent housing, had gotten seven people into treatment or other medical facilities, and decreased the use of emergency services all while not having a single COVID outbreak.

“Over the past two years, the County and partners have made great strides toward our community goal of ending chronic homelessness” said Social Services Committee Chair David Anderson. “Our community partners are doing great work to prevent and end homelessness, and we’ve already seen a 41 per cent reduction in chronic homelessness on our By-Name Lists, and a 78 per cent reduction in youth homelessness.”

The contract with the Holiday Inn Express goes until June 2022, and the County says that they will work to place as many people as possible in permanent housing. At this point though, it’s unlikely that they will move into the proposed location for their permanent Supportive Temporary Accommodation at 65 Delhi Street by next summer.

The County is committed to buying the building, and council approved the re-zoning in July, but a neighbourhood group is taking the decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal. Earlier this week, it was reported by Guelph Today that the case management conference has been delayed to March 3.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity to evaluate our existing programmes and explore new approaches to shelter services,” said the County’s Social Services Administrator Eddie Alton. “The new agreement with the Holiday Inn Express will give us the opportunity to work closely with our community partners and determine what our shelter and homeless serving systems should look like going forward.”

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