According to local organization Ryandale Transitional Housing, Kingston will have a new residence for homeless individuals “moving towards independence” in the first month of 2022.
A press release issued on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, by Ryandale Transitional Housing– in partnership with St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, The United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A), and the City of Kingston – the Ryandale Board of Directors announced that Ryandale will be expanding its operations by opening a second transitional house location. The new location will be within the historic limestone manse of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, built in 1841 and located at the corner of Queen and Clergy Streets in downtown Kingston.
According to the press release, the new transition house will be home to seven male “graduates” of Ryandale’s “step one transition house.” The men will “gain additional social and personal management skills as they progress toward independent living in their own homes,” and the house will, “provide safe and affordable accommodation and access to the essential community support services that help residents succeed on their own.
“This is a very exciting time for us. We will offer seven additional transitional housing beds through a leasing agreement with St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church,” Bob Crawford, Chair of Ryandale’s board, said in a statement.
“Our next step will be to hire a new House Administrator to oversee day-to-day house operations.”
Ryandale explained that the House Administrator position is being funded through a generous donation from partner agency the United Way of KFL&A, and also noted that the St. Andrew’s congregation has been looking into repurposing the church manse for over a year. Traditionally, a church manse is the clergy house which was traditionally lived in by the minister of the church in question and, in the case of St. Andrew’s Church, the congregation has wanted to find a use for the manse in order to contribute safe and affordable accommodations during the currently housing crisis in Kingston, the press release stated.
“Over the past year, we have worked with Ryandale and the City of Kingston to come up with a workable solution,” said the Rev. Andrew Johnston of St. Andrew’s Church. “The result is an initiative that allows the members of St. Andrew’s to use this historic asset – the manse – to achieve a practical response to the housing and homelessness emergency faced by many in our city.”
St. Andrew’s Chuch will act as landlord of the manse, and receive a portion of the residents’ housing allowance provided through government social assistance.
“We acknowledge that current government supports are inadequate for life in our city. This initiative involves a significant financial commitment by the congregation, but is also a significant act of solidarity and advocacy,” Rev. Johnston said in a statement.
Ryandale Transitional Housing said that the City of Kingston has been “instrumental in bringing the project to fruition,” helping all involved organizations navigate through planning, zoning, and fire code processes. The City of Kingston is also providing rent supplements for each room within the new transitional house, “to make the project financially feasible,” Ryandale said, “as well as some start-up funding to assist with minor building renovations.”
According to the press release, the manse will be used as part of the City of Kingston’s COVID-19 emergency housing response for the first several months of its operations, scheduled to begin in January 2022.
The continued work to open the new transitional house has been facilitated through “generous local businesses, such as Sleep Country Canada, as well as many private donors,” Ryandale said, however, more funds are still needed.
“Even with St. Andrew’s receiving the housing allowance provided by social assistance, and funding from the United Way for staffing, there are some start-up and ongoing expenses,” Crawford said, indicating that Ryandale will need to replace the manse’s aging carpet with laminate flooring, which would cost about $10,000, as well as to purchase some appliances and furniture, at about $2,000 per bedroom, and fire safety equipment that will cost about $1,000 total.
“We will also need funds for shared consumables to operate day to day,” he noted.
Those wishing to make contributions can do so through Ryandale’s website here.
St. Andrew’s Church had previously made a public appeal for repurposing the manse to address the current housing situation in Kingston.
For more information on Ryandale Transitional Housing, visit their website here.