Today, the city released its Winter Plan to act now to provide more daytime resting spaces and overnight places for people who are experiencing homelessness in our community. You can read the full report (PDF) here.
This Winter Plan is in addition to the work already underway within the Core Area Action Plan, the shift to provide motel space, which began soon after the pandemic hit London, and the Housing Stability Plan.
The Winter Plan will be discussed at the Community and Protective Services Committee on Tuesday, 1 Dec. It will be considered by council the following week.
Despite the great work of city staff and agencies working to support people who are experiencing homelessness, there are still too many people who do not have a safe place to live. Winter is coming and we need to act effectively to help as many people as we can.
The basics of the plan, which provide capacity to support 120 people during the day and 60 people overnight in four different locations:
More daytime spaces for people to hang out in during the day. From the report: "Day Spaces are focused on providing a warm space for individuals to get out of the cold, access basic needs and build a sense of community in a socially distanced environment. Locations will be staffed by community social services staff and volunteers. City of London staff will be onsite during operating hours. Each site can accommodate up to thirty (30) individuals at a time." There would be two Day Space locations:
- Hamilton Road Seniors Centre (525 Hamilton Road)
- Dundas Field House (177-179 Dundas Street).
More day space and overnight resting spaces. From the staff report: "Overnight Resting Spaces are low barrier spaces for individuals who are sleeping unsheltered to rest, access basic needs and supports. Two locations will operate Day Space and Overnight Resting Spaces. Locations will be staffed by community social services staff and volunteers. City of London staff will be onsite during operating hours. Each site can accommodate up to thirty (30) individuals at a time during the day and overnight. There will be two combination Day Space and Overnight Resting Spaces:"
- T-Block (652 Elizabeth Street; this is the heritage building near the baseball diamond in McMahen Park)
- Privately owned surface-level parking lot in the Core Area (location TBD)
The day and overnight spaces will be provided through the use of "heated temporary structures enclosed by construction fencing. The structures will be purchased by the City of London and therefore can be reused for different initiatives as needed. Services provided to the participants will include access to washrooms, showers and laundry services."
I am interested to know what you think about the Winter Plan and how we can help people in our community who are experiencing homelessness.
I will be updating this page with more information as decisions are made.
Please provide feedback in the box below. If you would like me to share your feedback with city staff, please indicate that in your comment.