City staff and council are expected to discuss a plan at Tuesday’s meeting that would see ten sleeping cabins erected at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
The city-owned harbour location has been noted as suitable for sleeping cabins as it is has a building outfitted with washrooms, showers and sleeping facilities.
This comes hot on the heels of the provincial government’s announcement of funding and land donation for a Veteran’s Village that will house 25 homeless veterans in Kingston.
Last month, Kingston City Council unanimously approved framework for 80 sleeping cabins to be built in 3-4 locations in the city.
However at that time the city made no land available, nor has a willing landlord stepped up to facilitate the project leaving the approved cabins with nowhere to go.
Though a far cry from 80 sleeping cabins, Portsmouth Olympic Harbour will provide a home for ten of the city’s most vulnerable and could act as a litmus test for the sleeping cabins concept in the city of Kingston.
Chrystal Wilson from Our Livable Solutions says with winter rapidly approaching in the midst of this announcement, EnerDynamic has confirmed that the ten cabins can be built quickly and be used this winter.
Mayor Paterson says the sleeping cabins at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour should act as a pilot for potential future sleeping cabin communities in the season.
Although it looks like the ten proposed cabins will be all that is ready for this winter, Paterson says the city has been working on other options for the homeless like motel and hotel rooms and ensuring existing shelter space is operating.
“I think that a pilot is always the best way to kind of test how things go before we would look to expand it elsewhere,” Paterson said.
“That’s just speaking about sleeping cabins, that does not in any way take away from all the other work that’s happening right now.”
Some have raised concerns about the location of these cabins being too far away from other low income services, but Paterson says the expectation is the community organization managing the space will help to mitigate that issue, and that there has also been some concern of too much concentration in one area in the city.
Our Livable Solutions and other community partners have raised funds that will help bring this project to life, with the city’s bill looking to be an estimated $250,000.
The cabin community could closely follow the footsteps of projects like A Better Tent City in Kitchener, which recently just found a new home for it’s 42 facilities.