'It's home': Residents of A Better Tent City looking for new location after Lot42 sale
KITCHENER -- Rosewater Developments, a real estate developer from Vaughan, has confirmed it plans to purchase the former Lot42 property in Kitchener.
The site on Ardelt Place has been used by A Better Tent City since April 2020, housing some of the region’s most vulnerable.
Rosewater Developments said the sale is expected to close this September. The company said it plans to take on existing tenants.
The tent city is not included in the sale and residents have until the end of June to move out.
Some of the 50 residents called the space a safe haven.
“Gave me stability. To be honest it’s the longest I haven’t been in jail. That’s the truth,” said Beverly Melanson, a Better Tent City Resident.
The site coordinator, Nadine Green, said she's grateful former landlord Ron Doyle let them stay there.
“It’s home. You have your own house or your own tent. You’re not worried about being kicked out,” said Green.
Some are worried about where they will go next.
“I’m hoping a lot of us to stay together,” said Melanson.
According the region’s Housing Services department, staff plan to help and said they connect with residents regularly.
“To ensure that people are connected to the pathways and services they get them access to affordable and permanent housing,” said Chris McEvoy the Manager of Housing Services with the Region of Waterloo.
The region said permanent housing is the answer to homelessness, but some argue that isn’t the right fit for everyone.
“The waitlist is like three to five years,” said tent city resident Holly Windsor.
Nadine Green said they have a place in mind but are still waiting to confirm the details.
“The houses will be moved with us wherever we go,” Green said.
“As far as I know, there are no regional properties that are available for another tent city at this time," McEvoy said.
The region suggested emergency shelters as an alternate option. but residents said they're hoping it doesn't come to that. Residents in A Better Tent City said their current model works best for them.