Community partners United Way KFL&A, City of Kingston, Lionhearts Inc. and Kingston Street Mission have announced that a warming and drop-in centre will be available to help provide respite from the cold, as well as services and support to local community members experiencing homelessness.
The building that houses the Centre, formerly the Oddfellows Hall at 218 Concession Street, is owned by Jay Patry and will be leased by Lionhearts Inc. with funding provided by the United Way of KFL&A and the City of Kingston. Meal service and operations will begin on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, according to a release from the United Way of KFLA.
“The rising cost of housing and food, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a growing mental health crisis all create a perfect storm of challenges for everyone in Kingston, but especially those who are unhoused,” said Travis Blackmore, Executive Director, Lionhearts Inc. “It is a privilege for us to continue serving during this difficult time and bring food and friendship to this much-needed space. We invite everyone to partner with us by volunteering, donating, or helping to redirect those in need to resources like this Centre throughout the coldest months of the year.”
The United Way said the project is collaborative with many agency partners utilizing the space. According to the release, Lionhearts and Kingston Street Mission will begin this collaborative initiative with food service in the evenings until late at night.
“I have watched the demand for social services grow in our community year over year. As we headed into the winter season we were informed that our community needed a place to help people who are less fortunate,” said Patry. “With a week’s notice, we moved swiftly to secure a quality building and work with social organizations to help facilitate their mission. Jay Patry Enterprises is humbled to be part of such a significant and worthy cause.”
The Warming Centre, through support from the City of Kingston, will operate in the same space and stay open until morning, the United Way stated.
“If this COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it is that human life is precious,” said Marilyn McLean, Executive Director, Kingston Street Mission. “The Warming Centre is one way we can show those struggling with homelessness right now that they are valued as people, and that we understand the challenges they face especially in these winter months. We appreciate this opportunity to provide hope and warmth, something we all need in this difficult season.”