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Neighbours oppose location of Kingston’s new ‘care hub’ for those experiencing homelessness

Click to play video 'Some area residents are not pleased with the location of Kingston’s new “Care Hub”' Some area residents are not pleased with the location of Kingston’s new “Care Hub”
WATCH: Some area residents and business owners are questioning the choice of location of Kingston's new "care hub" – Oct 1, 2020

The location of a new Kingston “care hub” for the homeless is getting some push-back from neighbours.

Several residents and businesses around the proposed site at Montreal and Rideau streets fear increased crime and drug use when the support initiative moves from Artillery Park.

Read more: Kingston takes steps to address homelessness through supportive housing

The building hasn’t even been re-purposed yet at 661 Montreal St., and already there’s plenty of criticism. In fact, there’s a petition going to city hall with 186 names on it saying “no” to the location.

“The city is not following their own criteria, placing it in close proximity to a park, K&P Trail borders it on two sides, it’s in a residential area and it will have an effect on local businesses,” says area resident Valerie Gray.

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Click to play video 'Former Belle Park campers told to move again' Former Belle Park campers told to move again
Former Belle Park campers told to move again – Sep 4, 2020

Joe Quattrocchi runs one of those local businesses. People have shopped at his family’s specialty foods store for decades. The care hub will be directly across the street, and Quattrocchi says the location just doesn’t fit.

“No, you’re not kicking them when they’re down. They need a proper clinic. We’ve been told that this will not be big enough, they’re going have to put something in the back yard to house people. Why not get a bigger place from the beginning?”

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson was on Global News Morning Thursday. He’s fully aware of the petition and says he’s heard the concerns of the residents and understands.

“We hear you and we’re all trying to work together on this as a community. And I think we can do it, I think we can be absolutely successful with it. So I think that will help to address those concerns.”

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Read more: Former Belle Park campers speak out after forced to leave

Eric Cook, a former resident of the Belle Park homeless camp, says he likes the location. “I don’t know too much about it but it’s in a great location — yeah, that’s awesome.”

“Shame on us for saying that you were doing nothing. I guess we just didn’t know better and whatnot. But yeah, thank you very much — that’s a living testament right there to the city doing more than nothing.”

Click to play video 'Dalhousie University researcher studies disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the homeless community of Halifax' Dalhousie University researcher studies disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the homeless community of Halifax
Dalhousie University researcher studies disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the homeless community of Halifax – Oct 1, 2020

The new integrated care hub on Montreal Street is expected to open Nov. 1.