310 Division Street: Modernizing shelter services to address community need

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With homelessness a rising concern in municipalities across Canada, Northumberland County continues to seek out new opportunities for shelter, housing and services to support vulnerable community members.

To help address the urgent local need for housing and shelter services in Northumberland, the County is pleased to announce a partnership with Transition House Shelter on the purchase of a 47-bedroom complex at 310 Division Street, Cobourg. Operators of the former Cobourg Retirement Residence announced earlier in 2023 that the facility would be closing its doors.

The County purchased the vacant property for the purpose of emergency shelter, and will be entering into an agreement with Transition House for the relocation of shelter services to this one central location, to better meet the diverse needs of our community. Northumberland County will engage in a 'take-back mortgage' with Transition House for repayment of the property.

Anticipated to open in spring 2024, the vision is for a multi-purpose facility. Approximately 35 emergency shelter spaces - available to all gender identities and couples - will address immediate need. Over the longer-term, transitional housing accommodations and other services will create pathways out of homelessness.

Services coming to 310 Division Street

  • Approximately 35 low barrier shelter spaces available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Access to a bed, food services and support services
  • Shared kitchen amenities
  • Daytime services
  • Future opportunities to introduce transitional housing accommodations to help create pathways out of homelessness.

Update on Community Engagement

Thank you to all community members who provided input on how best to integrate shelter services at the new location of 310 Division Street. All formal community engagement activities for the service planning phase of this undertaking concluded the week of February 12, 2024. County staff along with facilitators are now consolidating feedback. This includes feedback gathered through small group discussions, public information sessions, correspondence and questions submitted to staff and County Council, and delegations to County committees and Council. A final report will be shared with County Council at the regular meeting of Council on March 20th, 2024, including an overview of how feedback is being incorporated into plans.

Subscribe

Subscribe to project updates using the 'Subscribe' button, located in the right-hand sidebar of the webpage on computers or below on mobile devices.

Quick facts

  • Northumberland County is responsible for the planning and co-ordination of Homelessness System services across local municipalities, which includes collaborating with community partners on the provision of shelter, resources and supports. 310 Division Street will be one component of the supports available in Northumberland for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Northumberland County Housing Corporation (NCHC) manages 373 units of affordable and community housing across local municipalities
  • The County is currently working towards an additional 251 new units and rent subsidies to be brought forward over the next 3 years. Increasing the stock of affordable and community housing is critical to meeting the needs of vulnerable and low-income people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • The County currently has projects underway to support vulnerable residents:


Join In the conversation

Community engagement activities for the service planning phase of this undertaking concluded the week of February 12, 2024. The County and Transition House Shelter hosted community information and engagement sessions for residents to share questions, concerns and ideas to help positively shape the integration of this new hub within the broader community.

Concluded presentations and consultations

  • Presentation to County Council - Wednesday, December 6th at 3 p.m.
  • Door knocking in the immediate neighbourhood - January 15th
  • In-person small group discussions
    • January 16th from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
    • January 16th from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Virtual small group discussions
    • January 25th from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    • January 26th from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Virtual public meeting - February 6th from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • In-person Open House at the Cobourg Legion - February 12th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
    • A drop in to connect with County and Transition House staff, as well as community partners who provide supports to people experiencing homelessness in Northumberland

Community Engagement Report

County staff along with facilitators consolidated feedback gathered through the community engagement phase. This included feedback gathered through small group discussions, public information sessions, correspondence and questions submitted to staff and County Council, and delegations to County committees and Council.

A final report was shared with County Council at the regular meeting of Council on March 20th, 2024, including an overview of how feedback will be being incorporated into plans.

With homelessness a rising concern in municipalities across Canada, Northumberland County continues to seek out new opportunities for shelter, housing and services to support vulnerable community members.

To help address the urgent local need for housing and shelter services in Northumberland, the County is pleased to announce a partnership with Transition House Shelter on the purchase of a 47-bedroom complex at 310 Division Street, Cobourg. Operators of the former Cobourg Retirement Residence announced earlier in 2023 that the facility would be closing its doors.

The County purchased the vacant property for the purpose of emergency shelter, and will be entering into an agreement with Transition House for the relocation of shelter services to this one central location, to better meet the diverse needs of our community. Northumberland County will engage in a 'take-back mortgage' with Transition House for repayment of the property.

Anticipated to open in spring 2024, the vision is for a multi-purpose facility. Approximately 35 emergency shelter spaces - available to all gender identities and couples - will address immediate need. Over the longer-term, transitional housing accommodations and other services will create pathways out of homelessness.

Services coming to 310 Division Street

  • Approximately 35 low barrier shelter spaces available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Access to a bed, food services and support services
  • Shared kitchen amenities
  • Daytime services
  • Future opportunities to introduce transitional housing accommodations to help create pathways out of homelessness.

Update on Community Engagement

Thank you to all community members who provided input on how best to integrate shelter services at the new location of 310 Division Street. All formal community engagement activities for the service planning phase of this undertaking concluded the week of February 12, 2024. County staff along with facilitators are now consolidating feedback. This includes feedback gathered through small group discussions, public information sessions, correspondence and questions submitted to staff and County Council, and delegations to County committees and Council. A final report will be shared with County Council at the regular meeting of Council on March 20th, 2024, including an overview of how feedback is being incorporated into plans.

Subscribe

Subscribe to project updates using the 'Subscribe' button, located in the right-hand sidebar of the webpage on computers or below on mobile devices.

Quick facts

  • Northumberland County is responsible for the planning and co-ordination of Homelessness System services across local municipalities, which includes collaborating with community partners on the provision of shelter, resources and supports. 310 Division Street will be one component of the supports available in Northumberland for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Northumberland County Housing Corporation (NCHC) manages 373 units of affordable and community housing across local municipalities
  • The County is currently working towards an additional 251 new units and rent subsidies to be brought forward over the next 3 years. Increasing the stock of affordable and community housing is critical to meeting the needs of vulnerable and low-income people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • The County currently has projects underway to support vulnerable residents:


Join In the conversation

Community engagement activities for the service planning phase of this undertaking concluded the week of February 12, 2024. The County and Transition House Shelter hosted community information and engagement sessions for residents to share questions, concerns and ideas to help positively shape the integration of this new hub within the broader community.

Concluded presentations and consultations

  • Presentation to County Council - Wednesday, December 6th at 3 p.m.
  • Door knocking in the immediate neighbourhood - January 15th
  • In-person small group discussions
    • January 16th from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
    • January 16th from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Virtual small group discussions
    • January 25th from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    • January 26th from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Virtual public meeting - February 6th from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • In-person Open House at the Cobourg Legion - February 12th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
    • A drop in to connect with County and Transition House staff, as well as community partners who provide supports to people experiencing homelessness in Northumberland

Community Engagement Report

County staff along with facilitators consolidated feedback gathered through the community engagement phase. This included feedback gathered through small group discussions, public information sessions, correspondence and questions submitted to staff and County Council, and delegations to County committees and Council.

A final report was shared with County Council at the regular meeting of Council on March 20th, 2024, including an overview of how feedback will be being incorporated into plans.

  • Will 310 Division Street be a 'supersized' shelter?

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    No — 310 Division Street will offer roughly the same number of shelter spaces as available in Cobourg today.

    Current shelter spaces in Cobourg include:

    • 22 emergency shelter spaces at Transition House and 15 additional spaces through arrangements with motels as an overflow measure, for a total of 37 emergency shelter spaces.
    • 20 drop-in Warming Hub spaces

    Plans for 310 Division Street include approximately 35 emergency shelter spaces, and a warming/cooling centre. This aligns with recommendations from a third-party review, commissioned by the County in 2023, which recommended shifting to an updated facility with a minimum of 25 shelter spaces.

  • What is a low barrier shelter? Does this mean use of illegal substances is allowed on site?

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    Use of illegal substances is not permitted at the shelter and will not be permitted at 310 Division Street.

    'Low barrier' means improving access to shelter services by lowering barriers to entry such as:

    • sobriety requirements
    • Income requirements
    • space for couples
    • space for pets
    • accessibility features

    What is not permitted at the shelter?

    • Violence/threats of violence
    • Sexual harassment/sexual violence
    • Theft/excessive damage to property
    • Use/distribution of substances
  • What are 'wraparound' services?

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    Wraparound services refer to when a team of service providers and key figures in an individual's life come together to create and implement a plan of support. These services are designed to offer accessible and essential supports to meet the individual needs. Some of these services are offered by professionals, such as educators, mental health workers, employment counsellors, case coordinators, and health care providers, who work with people to help meet their goals.

    For example, if an individual has mental health challenges, diabetes and no income, wraparound supports for this individual could include on-site services from Northumberland Hills Hospital Community Mental Health Services, medical support from Northumberland Community Paramedics, and financial assistance from Northumberland County Community & Social Services.

    What measures are in place for wraparound supports when 310 Division Street becomes operational?

    Council more than doubled investments in the homelessness system in 2023, with levels to be maintained in 2024, which enabled street outreach services to be expanded, so staff who support people experiencing homelessness and support community well-being are available.

    The site is anticipated to open in early spring. It will follow established shelter best-practices. Community partners that offer health, housing, social, mental health and addiction and life skills building programs will be engaged. Wraparound services at the site will be in place and the indoor environment allows for a full range of programming.

  • What safety measures will be in place?

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    The County and Transition House both take security seriously. We will be working to mitigate any negative impacts to the community, and to keep people using the facility safe.

    Transition House is committed to safety measures as a good neighbour, including:

    • 24/7 on-site staff
    • Installation of a security system
    • Assessment of lighting and fencing on the property
    • We are also exploring engagement of professional security services — to be determined as part of our current planning process.

    It is important to remember: homelessness is a housing status; being homeless is not a crime nor does it mean people experiencing homelessness have or will commit crimes. Offering services to support people who are experiencing homelessness, people who are at risk of homelessness, or individuals who need help to live independently in the community does not mean crime will increase.

    It is important not to discriminate against service users by assuming they are responsible for all issues in the community moving forward. If a service user is responsible, they will be held accountable for their actions, as any other member of the community would be held accountable.

  • Will my taxes go up to pay for the purchase of the property?

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    No — there is no impact on taxes from the purchase of 310 Division Street.

    $2.3 million dollars was pulled from Northumberland County's Housing & Homelessness reserves to purchase the facility on behalf of Transition House. Northumberland County is entering into a mortgage buy-back agreement with Transition House for repayment. As part of the repayment strategy, Transition House plans to sell their 10 Chapel Street location upon relocation of services.

  • How will Transition House manage increased costs of a larger facility?

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    Transition House is currently developing operational and capital budgets for sustainable delivery of services at 310 Division Street. With this move, efficiencies are anticipated by consolidating shelter services to a single site.

    The agreement with Northumberland County for the delivery of shelter services at 310 Division Street will include the continuation of financial contributions from the County.

    As a registered charity, Transition House will be applying for Provincial and Federal funding programs, and will develop a fundraising strategy to source increased community contributions.

    After the move, Transition House plans to sell the 10 Chapel Street location, with proceeds of the sale being reinvested into 310 Division Street.

  • What research/best practices have been considered regarding shelter management?

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    The decision to relocate shelter services to 310 Division Street is rooted in the need for a more suitable facility. There is an opportunity for significant modernization and enhancement of services at the new location. These service enhancements will build on recommendations from the third-party review of our local shelter system, commissioned by County in 2023.

    Northumberland County is also part of multiple province-wide and Canada-wide social service networks, which regularly share best practices. These networks include:

    • Ontario Municipal Social Services Association
    • Built for Zero Canada
    • Canadian Housing Renewal Association
    • Provincial Housing Strategy Steering Committee (Senior leadership from municipal service managers with responsibility for housing)

    Knowledge-sharing at tables like these continues to inform provision of housing and homelessness services in Northumberland, including the modernization of shelter services at 310 Division Street.

  • Will the County adopt an agreement like the one between Durham Region and the Town of Whitby?

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    County staff are in regular communication with colleagues at Durham Region, including discussions to learn more about plans for a new shelter in the Town of Whitby.

    County staff are aware of Durham Region’s collaboration with the Town on an agreement pertaining to the new shelter. Recognizing distinct differences between the Whitby initiative and plans for 310 Division Street, County staff have been examining what aspects of the Whitby agreement may be applicable for any future arrangements with the Town of Cobourg.

    As plans for 310 Division Street move forward, the County will be engaging directly with the Town of Cobourg for further discussion.

  • Will a Community Liaison Committee be created?

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    Creation of a Community Liaison Committee is a point of interest we've heard throughout the engagement process. This will be highlighted in the final report coming forward to County Council and Transition House for consideration as part of implementation plans.

  • What supports are available to people facing service restrictions at the shelter?

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    Service restrictions are applied as a last resort to address violation of significant shelter rules. In cases where an individual is facing service restrictions, staff will try to seek alternatives for the individual through diversion supports.

    Diversion supports may include:

    • Family reunification services: connecting individuals with family or friends willing to provide support by facilitating communication, assisting with travel, etc.
    • Transportation assistance: helping to connect individuals with their support networks or access housing options in nearby communities.

    Northumberland County and Transition House Shelter continue to engage with community partners to reinforce the emergency shelter system and provide necessary supports for people experiencing homelessness.

Page last updated: 22 Mar 2024, 10:34 AM