After a flurry of activity at the former Fairfield Manor West for the past few days, City officials have now confirmed the facility is being prepared to house many of Kingston’s most vulnerable population amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
The building at 805 Ridley Drive has been leased by the City for this purpose after a week of planning that involved “a number of moving pieces,” according to Ruth Noordegraaf, Director of Housing and Social Services with the City of Kingston. The City is working with local agencies, health care professionals and networks, and other levels of government to ensure the new space is ready as soon as possible, but also sustainable for use over the coming weeks and months.
According to the City, the aim is to have the new space open this week. Using the facility will mean the local at-risk population – those who are homeless, between homes, or fleeing undesirable living conditions – will be able to both self-isolate and maintain the appropriate social distancing required to help stop the spread of COVID-19 during the current pandemic.
This comes just one day after the City silently closed the Warming and Counselling Centre on Wellington Street after concerns were raised about the ability for that centre to operate while adhering to government and Public Health guidelines regarding COVID-19. It also comes after the Kingston Youth Shelter was relocated in response to COVID-19.
Kingstonist will continue to monitor this situation and update this article as more information becomes available.