Photo by Blackburn London London City Hall. (File photo by Blackburn Media)

Councillors to vote on locations of homelessness hubs

A new report is outlining the proposed locations of London's first homelessness hubs.

Two locations will be in or near the downtown core, two will be close to or on London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Victoria campus lands, and the final location will be in North London.

There are three hub operators.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), Atlohsa Family Healing Services, and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services were the three organizations selected by city staff.

Councillors will be able to vote on the proposed locations and operators at a Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee meeting on Monday.

The YOU hub will be in two locations: one at 329 Richmond Street, near York, at their main building, while the other will be at the LHSC campus at 800 Commissioners Road near Wellington Road in Building 16.

The proposed yearly cost for that hub is $1,317,500 in year one and $1,983,800 in year two - and it will include six respite beds at the Richmond location and 9 transitional beds at the LHSC-based hub.

Atlohsa's hub will be located near Parkwood Hospital in Building J at 550 Wellington Road and carry a yearly cost of $2,118,146. The Indigenous-focused hub will have 18 transitional and 10 respite beds.

Canadian Mental Health Association will operate a hubs at My Sister's Place at 556 Dundas Street and 705 Fanshawe Park Road West, with a cost $1,425,562 per year. There will be 10 respite beds at the My Sister's Place location while the other will have 20 transitional beds.

"We've been thrilled to participate in the whole of community response that has created the vision and plans for low barriered community based hubs," YOU CEO Steve Cordes told London News Today. "We believe that YOU has an important role to play in helping youth in encampments find a path to housing and full participation in our community. For young adults, the Hub will be a safe and restorative first step on that path."

A total of $4,965,600 of the capital costs for these projects will be money from the Fund for Change.

"London is now on the brink of delivering transformational change to the most marginalized members of our homeless population, and all community members impacted by this crisis," said Mayor Josh Morgan in a statement on Wednesday. "Starting this December, pending Council approval, our first three Hubs will be operational. More importantly, these Hubs represent an immediate addition of 44 net new 24/7 indoor spaces with an additional 29 being added in the coming months."

Some of the proposed hub beds won't open until 2024. The Fanshawe Park Road location requires a re-zoning.

"These Hubs get people off the streets while providing a direct pathway to supportive housing. They are not traditional shelter spaces. The types of individuals being supported through this effort are those in need of multiple supports, which require multiple staff with a high level of expertise," wrote Morgan in his statement.

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