Grace Gardens officially opens its doors in Guelph

Façade of Grace Gardens, a permanent supportive housing project in Guelph. Ken Hashizume/CJOY

The public got a look inside a brand-new permanent supportive housing project in Guelph Tuesday.

Grace Gardens held an open house and official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, which hundreds, including Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, members of city council, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and Ontario Green Party Leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, attended.

“It’s been a lot of years of working towards something,” said Gail Hoekstra, executive director of Stepping Stone. “To look around today to see the completed project and all the people here is amazing.”

The facility sits on the former Parkview Motel property on Woolwich Street west of Riverside Park. It can accommodate up to 32 people. Each room has a bed, shower and small kitchen area. There are also a number of common areas, including a large open-concept room with a full kitchen and a big-screen TV.

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Residents will have access to support on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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The $9-million project received funding from all levels of government and the United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin, plus a generous donation from Grace Frank, whom the place is named after.

“She gave us quite a donation, and we were able to start the path of purchasing this motel,” said Hoekstra.

Grace Gardens is one of three supportive housing projects in Guelph designed to help people experiencing homelessness get off the streets. The Bellevue project by Wyndham House opened this past spring and one by Kindle Communities on Shelldale Crescent will open this fall.

“Our community partners, our neighbours, our politicians, our donors and our project partners helped make this happen,” Hoekstra said. “It does take everyone to make this to be the best project it can be.”

Grace Gardens will start taking in residents next week.


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