Some much-needed work to support youth experiencing homelessness in Kingston, Ont., is taking place on the Queen’s University campus.
MacGillivray-Brown Hall on Barrie Street is being converted to a temporary youth shelter to provide beds for area youth in need.
The Kingston Youth Shelter’s bed total on Brock Street dropped from 14 to six due to public health guidelines during the pandemic and in that time the need for youth beds increased.
“On average we’re looking at between 10 and 16 every night so to drop down to six youth each night, we know we’re turning people away every day that we could be housing and providing support to,” said the shelter’s Executive Director Anne Brown.
With Queen’s University lending MacGillivray-Brown Hall to the Kingston Youth Shelter there will be sixteen beds for area youth that have no where else to safely put their heads down at night.
Queen’s released a statement saying: “The effects of the pandemic have exacerbated the growing issue of youth homelessness and Kingston Youth Shelter continues to provide a critical service in the city.”
Atkinson Home Hardware has provided the building supplies, with just a week’s notice, and Habitat for Humanity provided the volunteer labour.
“We have ReStore staff, our director of construction, office staff and yeah that’s us,” said Cathy Borowec, CEO of Habitat for Humanity – Kingston Limestone Region.
She said they should be able to build the 16 sleeping pods in a day.
“It’s a simple construction and then to allow for some privacy and the air block it’s wrapped with house wrap,” said Borowec.
The building supplies in this temporary location will also be re-used when the Kingston Youth Shelter begins renovating it’s new and expanded location this summer.
“We’ll have twenty-one pods in the new location plus we’ll have three temporary spaces for youth that may need to not be in a more congested setting with other youth,” said Brown.
Brown said she hopes the youth shelter can take possession of the new space near Concession and Nelson streets in July and open the doors after renovations there are complete in the fall.