Despite public pleas, Kingston, Ont. sleeping cabins to move in April

Ten sleeping cabins will house Kingston's most vulnerable. Global News

Issues surrounding homelessness in Kingston, Ont., were front and centre during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Three separate delegations spoke to councillors about the need for more low-barrier housing options for the city’s unhoused population. Currently, there is a wait-list of more than 300 to gain access to a sleeping cabin.

Another major issue facing those who are assigned to a sleeping cabin is the fact that the Portsmouth Harbour settlement alternates with a location next to the Centre 70 arena in the city’s west end.

Despite pleas from the public, the motion to go ahead with the move passed.

Homeless advocates, like Chrystal Wilson, spoke of the need for an eventual year-round location.

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She says the hope is for sleeping cabin residents to find permanent housing within a year of their stay, but to move after six months can cause anxiety during the time before and after, which can lead to setbacks in gaining permanent housing. Wilson says a single location would eliminate those distractions.

The desire to find a permanent location for the settlement was echoed by members of council.

“While we welcome them back, we do certainly hope that a permanent location is found in the next year so that this isn’t happening again,” Lakeside district Coun. Wendy Stephen said.

Centre 70 is in the Lakeside district, which is also home to the Lemoine Point farm, a location Wilson said would be ideal for a permanent spot, mainly because of how much natural space there is.

“Having a place where we can really create it ourselves, create gardens — lots of people want to get involved in gardening,” Wilson said.

She says a location farther from downtown would help residents stay away from situations that would be detrimental to their well-being.

Wilson also points to the fact that the need to be close to services isn’t as great for residents of the sleeping cabins, as those services have shown they are willing to come where they’re needed.

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Click to play video: 'Unhoused campers worry about eviction from ICH encampment'
Unhoused campers worry about eviction from ICH encampment

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