'We're moving fully ahead': Region eyeing April 15 as move-in day at hybrid shelter
The Region of Waterloo is targeting April 15 as move-in day for the region’s first-ever first hybrid shelter, sometimes referred to as a managed encampment, on Erbs Road.
The update came from Region of Waterloo commissioner of community services Peter Sweeney during a community and health service committee meeting Tuesday.
“I will also report our partners in the Working Centre and our housing staff have been working to finalize that operating agreement, but also the Working Centre is fully engaged in connecting with the unsheltered community,” Sweeney added.
The site is on regionally-owned land at 1001 Erbs Road on the border of the City of Waterloo and the Township of Wilmot.
"We're moving fully ahead," Sweeney said. "We will likely have substantial completion and ownership by the end of the month as we've promised, but it is going to take that time to get that community space set up and some other sort of minor things.
"We're targeting April 15 as a full move-in date."
The location was announced by the Region of Waterloo in mid-December. At the time, the region said it hoped to have the shelter open at the beginning of February. That target was later pushed to mid to late March, before now being further postponed to April 15.
"You might recall at our last monthly meeting, there were a couple of significant milestones we needed to hit in order to be able to open this," Sweeney said. "I’m please to report that all of significant milestones have been addressed. We had some worries about the provision of electrical services that has all been taken care of."
The hybrid shelter will be managed by the Working Centre, house up to 50 people, each with their own small cabin, equipped with electricity, heating and air conditioning. A main cabin complex will provide running water, washrooms, laundry services and space for meals.
“Work has been done in earnest to identify people who would be a good fit for our new shelter on Erbs Road, and so that work is well in hand,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney said there are still some logistics to work out that are new to the community.
“We want to be really dignity and compassion focused on how we actually support, and physically providing the opportunity for people to choose to come out and live at Erbs Road,” he added.
Staff from both the Working Centre and the region have been handing out warming kits in the community throughout the winter and identifying potential residents of the encampment.