Here are the addresses where London’s homeless hub locations are being proposed
London, Ont. Mayor Josh Morgan is putting his political weight behind the locations proposed for low-barrier service hubs that will get Londoners experiencing homelessness off the streets.
“I’m supportive of the RFP (Request for Proposals) results that have come forward, including the sites and organizations,” Morgan said.
A report released by city hall details the bids received to operate the first three low-barrier service hubs.
Civic Administration is recommending council approve the hubs, two of which will be spread over two locations.
The hubs would serve Indigenous, youth, women and female-identifying homeless populations.
The proposed lead agencies and locations are:
1. Atlohsa Family Healing Services (Indigenous hub)
- 550 Wellington Rd. — opening: December 2023 — 18 transitional beds, 10 respite beds — capital cost to build: $1,303,750 — annual operating cost: $2,118,146
550 Wellington Rd. is a building on the campus of the Parkwood Institute utilized by the city’s winter response to homelessness in previous years.
Atlohsa Family Healing Services will operate a homeless hub at 550 Wellington Rd. in London, Ont. (Source: Google Maps)
2. Youth Opportunities Unlimited (youth hub)
- A. 329 Richmond St. — opening: December 2023 — 6 respite beds — capital cost to build: $1,064,367
- B. 800 Commissioners Rd. E. — opening: May 2024 — 9 transitional beds — capital cost to build: $2,059,183 — annual operating cost: $1,317,500 (year one), $1,983,800 (year two)
800 Commissioners Rd. E. is on the Victoria campus of the London Health Sciences Centre.
Youth Opportunities Unlimited will operate a homeless hub at 329 Richmond St. in London, Ont. (Source: Google Maps)
Youth Opportunities Unlimited will operate a homeless hub at 800 Commissioners Rd. E. in London, Ont. (Source: Google Maps)
3. Canadian Mental Health Association Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services (women and female-identifying hub)
- A. 556 Dundas St. — opening: December 2023 — 10 respite beds — capital cost to build: $40,500 — annual operating cost: $1,425,562
- B. 705 Fanshawe Park Rd. W. — opening: May 2024 (pending rezoning) — 20 transitional beds — capital cost to build: $497,800 — annual operating cost: $2,630,854
556 Dundas St. is home to My Sisters’ Place, and 705 Fanshawe Park Rd. W. is the location of the Lighthouse Inn.
Canadian Mental Health Association Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services will operate a homeless hub at 556 Dundas St. in London, Ont. (Source: Google Maps)
Canadian Mental Health Association Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services will operate a homeless hub at 705 Fanshawe Park Rd. W. in London, Ont. (Source: Google Maps)
“What we have is three hubs opening [in December] serving 44 people who need help, ramping up to over 70 in the spring, and ultimately that’s an incredible start,” said Morgan.
Councillor Susan Stevenson sees it differently.
“It’s underwhelming, the number of beds and the number of people we’re going to be able to help,” Stevenson countered. “At 44 beds, that’s less than 10 per cent of the high-acuity people we have on the streets.”
Stevenson worries that the city’s Winter Response to Homelessness will face even greater pressure as a result.
Several weeks ago, a series of five public meetings were held so that Londoners could discuss the council-approved criteria for hubs with city staff.
Some of the proposed locations don’t appear to meet all of those criteria including:
- Two of the sites have May 2024 completion dates (rather than December 2023)
- 705 Fanshawe Park Road W. must be rezoned to meet the land use criteria for hubs
- Whether all the buildings fit within the 8,000 to 10,000 square foot criteria is unclear in the staff report
However, a commitment not to locate the first hubs on Richmond Row, Dundas Place, or the Old East Village appears intact.
Civic Administration asserts that My Sister’s Place is just outside the boundary of the Old East Village based on the Official Plan.
“I don’t think every piece of every criteria, in every single situation, always is met in an RFP process. Predominately all of the priority populations are being served,” explains the mayor.
Once all 73 beds are all open, the annual operating budget of the five sites will be $8.1 million.
The city is offering a two-year contract with up to four one-year extensions.
The low-barrier hubs are a significant part of the council-endorsed Whole of Community Response to Homelessness that proposes 600 supportive housing units and up to 15 low-barrier hubs.
The goal is to open the first 100 housing units and up to five hubs this December.
Time for Londoners to weigh in on the proposed locations is limited.
On Sept. 25 council’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee will hold a special meeting to consider the lead agencies and locations.
It is not a public participation meeting, so Londoners must contact their councillors directly.
“This is your chance to have a say,” urges Stevenson. “Phone and email your councillor. It’s so important to have a say right now.”
Council is anticipated to finalize its choices at a special meeting called on Oct. 5.
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