Council to vote on funding allocation for housing and homelessness initiatives
UPDATE (Monday, Apr. 3, 2023):
According to the City of Kingston, moving the Integrated Care Hub to the location of the new service providing hub for Addictions and Mental Health Services of KFL&A is not part of the plan for that location.
Kingstonist is reviewing this information and will update this article as details are confirmed.
A report being presented to Kingston City Council on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023, is calling on councillors to approve funding for two not-for-profit housing projects in the city.
According to the report, staff are recommending that Council approve $975,000 for Ryandale Transitional Housing, while Addiction and Mental Health Services of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (AMHS-KFLA) is set to receive $6.5 million, with the funding intended to help both organizations acquire properties that will provide new transitional and affordable housing options, along with other services aimed to assist the city’s vulnerable populations.
The recommendation comes after Council issued a direction on June 29, 2022, to “create more scattered affordable housing and support partners to find options to provide complex care for vulnerable populations,” notes the report. “Both organizations have been visiting properties and are in the process of negotiations or will be starting negotiations shortly.”
The two organizations will use the funding to create new affordable and transitional housing units, with AMHS-KFLA looking to establish a new Complex Community and Health Care Facility. The report notes that such a facility would help create a pathway from “harm reduction to actual skill development, proper treatment, and transitional housing” for members of the city’s vulnerable populations.
The report goes on to state that, while a number of different services currently exist to support various at-risk groups in the city, “there is still a huge gap for people with high acuity, especially for services that combine both complex community and health care with housing and shelter options.” As such, certain individuals often spend a significant amount of time in encampments and other precarious living situations.
The new Complex Community and Health Care Facility is expected to incorporate a wide range of services, including the ICH, as AMHS-KFLA works with its community partners to establish a “full continuum and range of complex community and health care services.” The move comes after Kingston City Council passed a motion last year to support AMHS-KFLA, Kingston Community Health Centres, and Trellis HIV and Community Care in finding a new location for the ICH, one that would allow for an expanded client capacity as well as additional health care services.
“[AMHS-KFLA] has assessed and visited various properties, and a couple of properties are suitable as they are an institutional type of facility that would be convenient for community and health care, skill development, as well as accommodating drop-in/transitional type[s] of housing,” the report adds. It is expected that the chosen property will be able to accommodate between 50 to 100 people, “depending on programs and layout of the accommodation area.”
While a final location has yet to be identified, staff are recommending $6.5 million for the project, which would allow the organization to acquire the property and carry out any necessary renovations.
Meanwhile, councillors are also being asked to support an initiative by Ryandale which would create new “supportive affordable housing” units for a maximum of eight individuals. “Ryandale will provide supportive affordable housing services with on-site staff 12 hours per day,” reads the report. “Supportive affordable housing is part of the housing continuum and is a critical service that still has gaps in the community.”
While the report does not specify which property Ryandale is considering, staff do note that a total allocation of $900,000 is expected to cover the full cost of the building as well as additional repairs and renovations. Staff are also recommending an additional $75,000 in operational funding for six months in 2023, with that amount set to increase to $150,000 per year from 2024 to 2027.
In terms of where the money will come from, the report notes that Ryandale’s allotment will be covered by several different funding sources. The City is set to provide $304,000 through the Housing and Homelessness reserve, and another $506,000 will come from 2023 Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative funding. In terms of the yearly operational funding, staff are recommending the money be directed through the City’s social services budget. Meanwhile, the $6.5 million for AMHS-KFLA will be funded through the City of Kingston’s 2023 affordable housing capital budget.
The staff report will be presented to Council at a meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023, scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Council Chambers. The meeting will be open to the public and can also be streamed online through the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.