Guelph, ON – Guelph’s Drop In Centre, an organization dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness, has secured the purchase of the Parkview Motel, located at 721 Woolwich Street in Guelph and will change the name of the property to “Grace Gardens”, in honour of Grace Frank, whose financial donation helped obtain the property.
The organization leveraged its assets and received $1.2 million in funding from the County of Wellington and Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund to purchase the Parkview Motel. Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund program helps service managers and Indigenous program administrators protect homeless shelter staff and residents, and help prevent more people from becoming homeless.
“Our government’s Social Services Relief Fund was designed to provide both immediate and longer-term housing and homelessness relief in communities across Ontario,” said Randy Pettapiece, Member of Provincial Parliament for Perth—Wellington. “I’m happy we are working with Wellington County and the Guelph community to help meet the need for safe and affordable housing, and protect vulnerable people from COVID-19.”
“Wellington County Council is pleased to help fund this purchase and provide operating support to Grace Gardens” said Kelly Linton, Wellington County Warden. “We are committed to working collaboratively with partners in our community to end homelessness in Guelph-Wellington”.
The motel has served as an emergency overflow shelter space since 1986 and is the proposed site of a permanent supportive housing (PSH) project, pending a request for rezoning.
“We’re hopeful that we can proceed with our proposal to create an intentionally-planned and beautified space to provide housing stability and supports for 32 individuals – that is our first choice,” says Gail Hoekstra, Executive Director of the Drop In Centre. “If the zoning is approved, we are in a much better position to be eligible for government funding to help with the renovations to create the best version of Grace Gardens for our community.”
If the zoning change is not approved, Grace Gardens will continue to be a shelter, providing temporary accommodations to individuals who are homeless, with staff members on site.
“We have been working towards a purchase of this nature for nine years,” says Hoekstra. “Grace Gardens will have an impact, one way or another, in helping us restore hope, safety and grace for individuals who need it most.”
Grace Gardens will be ready for guests in May 2021. Staff will spend the coming weeks cleaning and organizing the space. If zoning is approved, the Drop In will proceed with renovations and pursue its PSH model.
“Grace Gardens is a perfect example of our community’s dedication to ending homelessness in Guelph and Wellington County,” said David Anderson, Chair of the Wellington County’s Social Services Committee.
The Drop In also provides emergency shelter at 23 Gordon Street on a first come, first served basis, operates the Loyola House Supportive Temporary Accommodation Project (LHSTAP), and will be providing housing with supports through its other locations the Stepping Stone and Dwelling Place.
Gail Hoekstra, Executive Director
The Drop In Centre
Mark Poste, Director of Housing
County of Wellington
T 519.824.7822 x 4040