Transition House shelter in Cobourg reopens

Transition House in Cobourg has reopened following a 10-month temporary closure. File

Following a 10-month temporary closure, Northumberland County’s only emergency housing shelter has reopened.

Last December, officials closed the shelter in Cobourg after a staff member was reportedly assaulted and the building endured “considerable” structural damage. The Ministry of Labour issued orders for training and required the employer to conduct a risk assessment.

In February, Northumberland County issued a request for proposals to bring the shelter system into alignment with the Housing First model, which focuses on making the shelter a point-of-entry hub to assist people experiencing chronic homelessness. The model also ensures people are connected with resources to enable a safe transition to safe, affordable and stable housing.

This June, the county announced it would partner with Transition House to deliver modernized emergency shelter services for the region.

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“We are very pleased to be active once again, providing low-barrier emergency shelter services for the community,” said Catherine White, Transition House board chair. “We are focused on supporting people experiencing homelessness to secure safe, affordable and stable housing as quickly as possible. We are already engaging with partner agencies and look forward to continued collaboration to ensure a coordinated response to homelessness across Northumberland.”

During the closure, White said the board oversaw recruitment to ensure a full complement of shelter staff, as well as all-staff training in best practices for shelter operations and the Housing First Model.

The shelter began accommodating clients on Oct. 15. It is open for men, women and families.

“With a history of providing compassionate refuge and transitional support to residents experiencing a housing crisis, Transition House is well-positioned to deliver this essential service,” said Lisa Horne, county director of community and social services.

“Homelessness is a complex issue within our community, and we welcome Transition House’s contribution to the work among partner agencies to strengthen Northumberland’s evolving system of housing and homelessness supports.”

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