Guelph eyes old paramedics building for transitional housing

The current home of Guelph-Wellington Paramedics will soon be vacant and the city and county are looking at the century old building for the purpose of transitional housing.

This type of housing is described as an important step on the path from homelessness to having a home. It is a safe and secure place to stay for up to three years while a person gets their life in order and ready for a more long term home.

The building, located at 65 Delhi Street, is currently the home of Guelph-Wellington Paramedics who will be moving to a new location later this year.

The plan is to convert the building into 36 housing units for people to stay up to three years while they secure permanent housing

At the city council meeting on Monday evening, several people expressed support of the plan and the building location, which is about a block away from the hospital.

“Aside from providing dignity and security for residents, this location is close to healthcare, grocery stores, libraries and downtown services” said Guelph resident Susan Watson.

While others said they support the intent and recognize the need for housing but say the century old building is the wrong fit.

“We also know there is an urgent need to help the homeless, we are concerned that what is proposed currently will not serve the people it seeks to help, instead warehousing them in tiny room with little of the wrap around supports they need,” said neighbour Stephen Kilburn.

Some neighbours who spoke at the city council meeting say they have concerns with the number of social services in the area.

“I have been living in this neighbourhood twenty six years and there are escalating concerns for safety and security, the density of support and rehabilitation services and shelters in our area already result in what I call travelers in our area,” added resident Karen Kowalchuk.

No decisions were made on Monday, with the plan set to come back before council at a later date.