WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?: State of Guelph’s Grace Gardens

Construction fencing has gone up around the former Parkview Motel on Woolwich Street. Residents were moved out of the property in mid-January 2022, as renovations on the Grace Gardens supportive housing project are set to begin in February.

The Guelph supportive housing project known as Grace Gardens is expected to come to fruition this summer with renovations on the former Parkview Motel set to begin in February.

Just the facts:

The project, which got the green light from city council in the spring of 2021, will see the former motel transformed into intentionally-planned accommodations for 32 people who have been struggling for years with homelessness. There will be 24/7 staffing, providing support from the Stepping Stone and the organization’s health partners.

“We are aiming to support individuals that have struggled with homelessness due to their mental health and addiction concerns and are interested and will benefit from an intensive 24/7 support model,” Stepping Stone executive director Gail Hoekstra said in an email to the Mercury Tribune.

While there had been people living at the property, Hoekstra said residents and staff have been relocated to a temporary location for the construction phase of the project.

Construction will start at the beginning of February, with the aim being to complete the project as soon as possible, she said.

“We are hoping that construction will be fully complete by summer 2022,” she said, noting that those who were living there previously are planning to return when the renovations are complete.

Hoekstra emphasized that the project is only one part of the solution to dealing with homelessness in the city.

“We have many more than 32 homeless individuals in Guelph,” she said, noting there are currently 129 people on the by-name list used to track homelessness locally.

“As a community we need to create many more housing options for individuals that are homeless,” she said.

“All housing options need to be ‘deeply affordable,’ but the level of support can look differently depending on the needs of the individual,” she said. “Our partnering organizations are supporting individuals coming out of homelessness in market rent or social housing that offer weekly support and we also need more of these units to meet the overall goal of ending homelessness.”

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