Kingston Home Base Housing has announced the overnight warming centre at 218 Concession Street, formerly Oddfellows Hall, will now be open seven nights a week.
In a statement on Thursday, Home Base Housing says staffing limitations caused by COVID-19 have kept operations from expanding, but that is a problem they have worked feverishly to address.
“HomeBase has worked as quickly as possible to recruit and orient new staff in the homeless sector and particularly the Warming Centre,” the statement from January 20 reads.
“HomeBase is able to report that beginning today, the Centre will be open seven evenings a week.”
The organization says that over the past three weeks staff have been available for evenings with cold weather alerts.
On each of those evenings the shelter saw between thirteen and sixteen individuals who stayed in the facility overnight.
Street outreach staff at HomeBase work seven days a week, and the warming centre provides them an option to direct members of the city’s homeless to for services and shelter from the cold.
The overnight portion of the shelter services operates from 9 PM-9 AM, and HomeBase also collaborates with Lionhearts to provide a daily meal drop in service from 8 PM-11:30 PM.
The release also notes that HomeBase and other organizations have struggled through this recent wave of COVID-19 to maintain emergency services, and expect that could continue throughout the next few weeks.
Some of Kingston’s winter homelessness plans have had a rough start to the season, with sleeping cabins at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour remaining unoccupied throughout this recent extreme cold stretch despite hope they could be up and running sometime in December.
Six men were moved into the cabin community late this week however, with the final four cabins arriving on site Thursday and expected to be occupied in the coming days.
The City of Kingston is currently renting the warming shelter space from Jay Patry, though the total cost of renting has not been made public.