Sleep cabins offer shelter for Kingston, Ont.’s most vulnerable population

Sleep cabins for Kingston's unhoused have been set up at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Jonna Semple / Global News

The Our Livable Solutions pilot project has been two years in the making and Lettita Flett says that seeing the sleeping cabins for the “village” finally be set into place is a surreal experience.

“It’s mind-blowing to see it actually happening and to hear the reactions from people living on the street who see them and see pictures and are getting very excited thinking about it,” Flett said.

Six out of 10 cabins have been placed at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. They will be equipped with power in preparation for 10 people to move in early January.

Read more: Kingston, Ont. to provide homeless population with motel rooms in winter

The cabins come in at a cost of $16,000 each which is being funded in part by a social service relief fund that comes from the provincial government.

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“Another thing that we’re benefiting from is approximately $150,000 coming out of a trust that was given to the city of Kingston for homelessness services,” Flett said.

Ten unhoused people living with mobility issues have been chosen for this project. Flett said it’s a small step in the right direction.

“We’re hoping this pilot project is going to be the beginning of many projects like this where we can have small communities that support each other and have their supports coming in with staff, volunteers and service agencies,” Flett said.

“So this is a model that we can replicate across Kingston.”

Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont. unhoused community calls for warming centre' Kingston, Ont. unhoused community calls for warming centre
Kingston, Ont. unhoused community calls for warming centre – Dec 9, 2021

For those without a cabin, preparations are being made at the new warming centre. The first meal was served by lion hearts on Dec. 27.

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“It’ll be a drop-in centre for sure,” said Travis Blackmore, executive director with Lionshearts.

There will be a meal program, and after the meal, people will have access to the warming centre. “However, the overnight piece — we’ll have more details on that in the coming days as we work with another partner to make sure that’s ready to go.”

Advocates say volunteers are making a difference and hope more people are able to volunteer their time to help run the warming centre efficiently.

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