If all goes well, three homeless people will have roofs over their heads next summer in a three-unit townhouse owned by Christ Church Cathedral.
Penny Ericson, chair of the cathedral's Outreach Committee, said the cathedral's project on Albert Street and a four-unit townhouse on Jaffrey Street, owned by Smythe Street Church, were approved at a recent meeting of the city's planning advisory committee.
... homeless people are provided with a place to live and support services
"No one spoke in opposition to the projects at the PAC meeting,” she was pleased to report. “Rezoning is required, and next steps are taking place at upcoming City Council meetings. I anticipate that it will be accepted because the City wishes the program to move forward, and the land that they are donating is not useful for them in any other way.”
The small houses fall under a concept called Housing First in which homeless people are provided with a place to live and support services. The goal is to make their lives healthier and more stable by removing the anxiety of chronic homelessness. One four-unit townhouse, operated by the John Howard Society, opened a few months ago on the north side.
“It's taken a community effort to get these projects going, but fund-raising has gone well, building designs are in place, and it's exciting to be moving ahead,” she said.
The land is hilly and will need to be graded in the spring before the three-unit townhouse can be placed on the plot. This work will be weather-dependent, but Bill Jones will have the three houses ready. The PAC was told construction should be finished by late summer.
“I plan to call a meeting for those at the cathedral interested in assisting with the houses and their tenants in February 2020,” Penny said. “I will keep everyone aware of the council's decisions and any changes that occur. It has been a long wait, but it will all be worth it."