Housing report

CK councilors have deferred the emergency housing report for further discussion

A proposed expansion of the homeless shelter in downtown Chatham has been referred to administration for further consideration.

After some discussion, councilors in Chatham-Kent decided to send the report back on Monday to be presented with all the information needed to address the housing crisis in the community.

“The issue under consideration relates to temporary emergency housing, which is a different housing model, but is an essential part of the overall housing continuum,” Councilor Karen Kirkwood-Whyte said. “We need both.”

Kirkwood-Whyte went on to introduce the new motion that the report be returned to council by April 4 or earlier at a separate meeting. The motion carried 16-1.

“We need to learn more about these additional options and give staff enough time to give the board the information we need to make the best decision possible,” Kirkwood-Whyte said.

Concerned about the impending deadline at the Travelodge hotel, Councilor Melissa Harrigan expressed concern that the timeline may find a temporary solution to continue providing emergency accommodation.

“It’s a concern, but we’re really going to move very, very quickly in finding those alternative solutions,” said Community Social Services Executive Director April Rietdyk. “We have a deadline looming ahead of us with the Travel Lodge and we need to find other accommodation options before we leave the Travel Lodge.”

Councilor Michael Bondy raised the question asking if Hope Haven would still be included as a potential option for emergency housing.

His question was followed up by Rietdyk assuring that Hope Haven would still be included as an option.

“Hope Haven has been an absolutely incredible partner during the pandemic and we hope to continue this partnership for as long as possible, Rietdyk said. “I, too, hope Hope Haven will be part of the board’s chosen option.”