A Kingston based emergency shelter for families recently reached its ten year anniversary in the community, celebrating a “positive milestone” after two of its most challenging years.
The shelter is operated by HomeBase Housing, and provides short-term emergency housing and when at capacity are able to put families in hotels.
In the past six months, Lily’s Place has supported over 75 individuals.
HomeBase Housing Communications and Fundraising Coordinator Katherine Cooper says the shelter looks to help the families who use the services find stability.
“It’s really kind of focused on identifying how families got to this point and how we can help them in the short term,” Cooper said.
“But also give them that long term stability that they’re looking for.”
For many families, finding themselves needing shelter is through no fault of their own and is a morbid reality of the housing crisis.
A release from HomeBase housing says there has been a notable increase in landlord’s selling their rental properties and asking tenants to vacate, pricing families out of their existing living situation.
Kingston, which saw the highest rising housing prices in Ontario last year, is no stranger to that.
One family who used Lily’s Place, pictured above, had exactly that experience.
“Our landlord gave us notice that they were selling their home and we needed to vacate… Finding affordable housing has been very difficult,” the family says through the release.
“We have been told by landlords that they have had 100s of applications… We came to Lily’s Place as we ran out of options for our family. Lily’s Place is a nice home setting with staff who have been supportive.”
The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Kingston is $1,821, with larger families looking for three or four-bedrooms being faced with average costs of $2,200 and $2,595.
A number of the more affordable options in Kingston have also experienced tremendous issues with building standards, further limiting options for families.
HomeBase says programming at Lily’s Place is designed to support families to achieve financial stability and housing supports within a safe environment.
Cooper said the only way to address the affordable housing crisis is through building more housing, but in the meantime families need support and spaces like Lily’s Place fill that gap.
She says the definition of affordable also needs to be reconsidered.
“Especially during this very strange time of rapid inflation of costs and expenses housing is one piece of the puzzle as far as how many things are no longer affordable,” Cooper said.
“The average 3 bedroom rental… is between 2,200 and 2,500 dollars. So if you’re a single income family that’s not achievable regardless of your education or your employment status.”
Another gap Lily’s House has worked to address is some of the barriers different family structures face, with Cooper particularly noting that people are often surprised how often a single parent household is led by a male.
The release stares that 90% of the families supported by Lily’s Place thus far in 2022 have had an adult male in the family structure.
Lily’s Place is located on Kingscourt Avenue, info can be found here.