By Melissa Kwiatkowski and Kristin Kerr
Imagine how good it must feel to have a safe place to sleep every night. What if you didn’t have to carry your belongings everywhere because you have somewhere to leave them? Imagine having a space to rest when you need it, and community when you feel ready. Imagine not having to worry what will happen to you in winter.
Our community is in crisis. Too many valued community members we care about have nowhere to live. People who spend their days and nights outside get cold and sick. Anxiety and desperation escalate. They might forget to take their medications. They are in crisis.
We know their names. We know how to help.
Many people who are experiencing homelessness are also facing additional challenges that make their needs more complex and the barriers to accessing care and housing insurmountable. They live with mental health, addiction, trauma, violence or physical health challenges.
Imagine we built a custom-designed home, and provided the 24/7 specialized supports that people told us they need.
That’s the vision for 10 Shelldale, Guelph’s third permanent supportive housing project to open in our city this year. The building will provide bachelor-style apartments and 24/7 supports for 32 people. The project is also designed to provide extra health resources for 76 others living at other supportive housing buildings in Guelph.
Stonehenge Therapeutic Community, Kindle Communities, and the Guelph Community Health Centre are partners in this effort. We have incredible partnerships with private sector, federal, provincial, and municipal leaders. These partnerships – including the land that was so generously donated by Skyline Group of Companies – have allowed us to build a building.
In a couple of months, 10 Shelldale will be a reality, ready to provide the right help at the right time to people in desperate need.
We have a plan and we are relentlessly implementing it for our community.
Housing is health care. Our partners are taking urgent action to deliver the right health supports by the time construction is completed in December 2023. Imagine the difference we will make together.
Melissa Kwiatkowski is the CEO of the Guelph Community Health Centre (Guelph CHC).
Kristin Kerr is the CEO of Stonehenge Therapeutic Community.