Kingston, Ont. could get new addictions, mental health facility for unhoused

Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont. council to discuss $6.5 million in funding for new addictions, mental health facility'
Kingston, Ont. council to discuss $6.5 million in funding for new addictions, mental health facility
Kingston city staff are recommending council approve up to $6.5 million in funding to be given to Addiction and Mental Health Services to purchase and renovate a property to serve the city's unhoused population. – Apr 4, 2023

On Tuesday Kingston city council will be considering an expensive recommendation.

Staff are recommending the city provide $6.5 million to the city’s addiction and mental health services, or AMHS, to purchase a new facility. Like the city’s current Integrated Care Hub (ICH) it would provide a range of services plus some added extras.

Chief administrator officer Lanie Hurdle says the facility would treat everything “from harm reduction to skill development and possibly stabilization bed or even transitional housing down the line.”

Currently, city staff are still taking down and cleaning up an encampment that had built up around the ICH in Belle Park and the K-and-P Trail.

Most of the unhoused living there said they were dependent on the services provided there and were hesitant to leave. They were forced out by the city starting March 27.

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“A solution would be building a bigger building on this property, a more suffice property,” Jay English, a previous encampment resident, told Global News back on March 22.

The $6.5 million in funding would help the city acquire another property where it could open another complex healthcare services hub.

However, whether it will include another safe consumption site like the ICH, Hurdle says, is up to AMHS, Kingston Community Health Centres, and the federal government.

City staff have not revealed the properties they’re looking at. Hurdle says all of them would be able to accommodate up to 100 people.

The proposed facility would alleviate pressure on the ICH and allow addictions and mental health services to consider whether the ICH will still need to continue offering all of the services they currently do.

“They will have to make a decision whether or not they feel that two services is appropriate or just one location providing a much broader range of services,” Hurdle says.

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