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Transitional housing complex construction well underway

The 40-unit transitional housing complex on Lorraine Street is expected to open around the end of the year, and local elected officials hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking event on Thursday

The 40-unit transitional housing complex on Lorraine Street remains on budget and roughly on schedule, with its opening to residents anticipated to take place near the end of the year.

Local elected officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $14.4-million project on Thursday, during which Liberal MP Viviane Lapointe clarified the federal government has followed through with the $7.4-million pledge they announced in 2021.

Foundation and piling work is already underway on site, while the 32 modular units that will eventually make up the building in a warehouse in the southern Ontario community of Dundalk.

“They’re running in conjunction at the same time, which helps push the schedules,” Nomodic Modular Structures Inc. project manager Paul Sotola told 

The segments will be assembled like Lego pieces during a two-week span in late September or early October, after which they’ll be patched together and completed by the end of the year.

“We have multiple projects going on right now, and found this is the fastest way to get to the issue at hand of rapid housing and getting people into a place where they’re safe and sound,” Sotola said.

During Thursday’s ceremony, Mayor Paul Lefebvre noted that community advocates have been pushing for more projects such as this, crediting transitional housing and the various supports surrounding them as being “the only way we can help our most vulnerable get off the street.”

These supports help break the cycle of merely finding people housing they are not ready for and are unable to maintain, which results in them ending up back on the streets.

The transitional housing complex will target people considered chronically homeless, with its residents coming from referrals and the city’s by-name list (those experiencing homelessness).

As of June 29, the city reported that 194 people were actively homeless, including 19 in encampments, 59 unsheltered, 67 in shelter and 49 provisionally accommodated.

Prospective residents will undergo an initial assessment to gauge their interest and willingness to participate in the program, and will continue being assessed by staff once they’re in.

According to a tender document drafted by the city, the transitional housing complex “will assist in filling gaps and alleviate pressures on other services such as hospitals, paramedics, police, social service agencies, justice and correctional services by providing housing to individuals that are preparing for next steps in treatment or are being discharged from hospital but still require intensive support to remain successfully housed.”

The 40 units will be 400 square feet in size each, and the plan includes parking for 24 vehicles, a common area, security office and two units for onsite support services.

These support services will include an Assertive Community Treatment Team to provide services for residents through a partnership with Health Sciences North.

The team includes physicians, nurses, social workers and substance use support workers who will “work side by side with residents providing ongoing support to improve wellness, build community connections and advance permanent housing goals.”

The team is anticipated to be on site 16 hours per day, and security will oversee the property for the other eight.

Although celebrated by political dignitaries on Thursday morning, the transitional housing complex was not well-received by its neighbours. 

In October 2021, area residents gathered at the site to voice their opposition to then-Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan and Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc.

They were frustrated by the lack of public consultation prior to city council selecting the Lorraine Street location. Although they were concerned about what impact the build might have on their property values, and the element it might bring to their community, Kirwan instructed them to focus on the idea that it wasn’t an ideal location for it due to a lack of services in the area.

City council proceeded with the build, and approved its final cost of $14.4 million last year, which was an increase from its original upset limit of $10 million approved during 2021 budget talks.

The building’s total operating cost was last estimated at $1.69 million, which includes $1.2 million for the team.* 

Offset by projected revenues of $950,000, a total net levy impact of $739,000 is in the city’s 2023 budget.

With health care a provincial jurisdiction, the city has been advocating for operational funding from Queen’s Park, but the Progressive Conservative government has yet to agree.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for

*Editor's note: This number has been corrected.


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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