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Property owner describes his homeless hub proposal as 'dead in the water'


An uncertain timeline for rolling out more of London’s Whole of Community Response to Homelessness might have eliminated one potential location for a service hub.

Less than two weeks before the planning committee considers expanding the permitted uses for a former radio station at 743 Wellington Rd, the new property owner said his proposal to host a service hub for Londoners experiencing homelessness is no longer part of the plan.

An email from Ross Rains of The Focal Point Group to some of the neighbours states, “The May 22 pubic meeting at City Hall is not about a Hub application, which is now dead in the water for us. It is only about the list of zoning uses.”

In April, several neighbours expressed concern about Rains’ proposal to offer the location as a low-barrier service hub because it would be the third in the area.

London’s first two hubs opened late last year on the grounds of Victoria Hospital and the Parkwood Institute.

The council-endorsed Whole of Community Response to Homelessness intends to open 600 highly supportive housing units and up to 15 service hubs for the highest acuity people living unsheltered.

Rains’ proposal for 743 Wellington Rd. appears to be a victim of uncertainty surrounding the application process.

“The problem is that no one knows what the process is and that it may not be until fall that it is clear. We are a small family business and said we could not hold on past July 1 to make this offer to the neighbourhood and the City,” reads the email.

He goes on to write, “This application is also a challenge to the City's resolve to implement the Hub plan which is sputtering, as our collective expression of 'whole community response' has revealed.”

In a statement the city writes, “The Hubs Implementation Table continues to work on refining the Expression of Interest process, with a goal of launching the procurement process by early summer.”

The goal of that procurement process is to align lead agencies and support agencies with suitable land and property ownership.

The city adds that invitations to participate in the procurement process will come, “in the coming months.”

Neighbours had mixed feelings after learning of the property owner’s email.

“The owner of this building, it’s very kind of him that he even offered, and it’s unfortunate that the city isn’t able to fulfil that need in time for him,” said Amal Ismail as she walked past the property.

“It’s not like anybody is against trying to help the homeless, because that is definitely an issue in the city and in many other cities, but it [has to] be done the right way,” Geoffrey Goodwin said while standing outside his home.

The Planning and Environment Committee will consider an expanded list of possible uses for the property at its meeting on May 22. Top Stories

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