Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 21, 2024
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News
April 10, 2024
Volume 194 No. 15

Shelter on the Lee Side

County’s new homeless shelter, Leeward House, to welcome its first clients this month.
<p>Helping cut the ceremonial ribbon at Leeward House were (From Left) Adam Bramburger on behalf of MPP Todd Smith, Affordable Housing Supervisor Ellis Ziegler, PELASS Director Lynn Chenier,  Base31 Chief Placemaking Officer Assaf Weisz, Mayor Steve Ferguson, PELASS Manager Scott Robertson, Rockport Group’s Vice President of Development &#038; Planning Kathryn Randall, and Leeward Transitional Housing Coordinator Tricia Richens. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
Helping cut the ceremonial ribbon at Leeward House were (From Left) Adam Bramburger on behalf of MPP Todd Smith, Affordable Housing Supervisor Ellis Ziegler, PELASS Director Lynn Chenier, Base31 Chief Placemaking Officer Assaf Weisz, Mayor Steve Ferguson, PELASS Manager Scott Robertson, Rockport Group’s Vice President of Development & Planning Kathryn Randall, and Leeward Transitional Housing Coordinator Tricia Richens. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

A meet-and-greet at the transitional house on April 2 gathered representatives of a three-way municipal partnership around the kitchen table at the heart of the nine-bedroom home. 

It will offer a safe congregate-living space, and provide the tools and resources to help clients find stable housing.

The Leeward Transitional Housing initiative is a collaboration between the municipality, Base31, and Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Social Services. 

 Base31 purchased the property and holds the lease. Social Services, by way of a three-year commitment through the Government of Ontario’s Homelessness Prevention Program, is funding two full-time staff members and resident supports.

Those staff members include an on-site support coordinator and a live-in superintendent in charge of resident and neighbour safety.

transportation plans

Affordable Housing Supervisor Elis Ziegler said the house was move-in ready once Base31 took possession. The municipality set April 15th as Leeward’s soft start date.

“The biggest thing about Leeward house at this point is people management. We are expecting ten unrelated people living in the same space and I have no concerns it will work well but we want to ensure we maximize the space completely,” Mx. Ziegler explained.

As the house is four kilometres outside Picton, transportation plans are essential.The County is working on expanding public transit support to serve the residence. In addition to supplements for those that can’t meet the $620 per month rent, transportation allotments are available. County Transit also offers an on-demand door-to-bus-stop service.

“It’s not only people battling addiction or in the throes of a mental health issue who will benefit. There are people working in the culinary and retail sectors that can use a place like this.”

Adam Bramburger

Key issue of our time

“Some still have the impression homelessness is an issue only in big cities,” said  Adam Bramburger, who spoke on behalf of Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith. He called housing and underhousing the key issue of our time. 

The former Picton Gazette editor noted that five years ago, when the HOPE Centre was trying to create a warming space, tents near Delhi Park and stairwells where unhoused people would try to stay warm made clear homelessness is everywhere.

“It’s not only people battling addiction or in the throes of a mental health issue who will benefit. There are people working in the culinary and retail sectors that can use a place like this,” he said.

Mr. Bramburger recalled the words of the late former first lady Rosalyn Carter, who said there was nothing more important than a safe and secure home.

“You’ve got a key foundational piece here with Leeward that will provide solitude, social opportunities, as well as  an escape from the elements. When the province expanded the Homelessness Prevention program, this was the type of collaboration they were hoping to see. Leeward is creative, innovative and gets the job done in a place where it matters.”

Mayor Steve Ferguson said Leeward’s welcoming environment will ensure a safe and supportive space as well as help reduce the pressure on emergency and community services. 

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 15 edition of The Picton Gazette
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