Holiday inn

Could the Holiday Inn in Guelph on Scottsdale be converted into affordable, supportive housing?

Re: “Proposal to convert Holiday Inn on Scottsdale into student accommodation without considering other uses for this accommodation resource. ”

In Guelph, there are many student housing properties and only one homeless shelter agency for adults and one for youth – both of which have a total of about 75 beds at maximum capacity. We wonder if the additional student housing reflects the housing needs of our community?

To further shed light on the experiences of homeless people, it is important to understand that the waiting list for housing in Wellington County spans several years. Community members are now using emergency and short-term shelter systems as their housing system, knowing that there will be no housing available for them even after a stay in a shelter. Shelter systems are not designed to help people with long-term housing. People can be banned or raped for not being able to comply with short-term policies and procedures during long-term stays. Affordable housing options in Guelph’s private market are extremely limited for people on social assistance.

The lack of housing options often forces people to live outdoors. Coming to this reality impacts your whole being in a way that many will never experience. Fear, stress, precariousness and survival all become devouring. Not only are these people at increased risk of death during the winter months due to the harsh weather conditions, but we are now seeing replicas of responses from other urban centers to the settlements in the form of forced evictions.

When a member of the community calls the city because they are worried about people living outside, that call is taken care of by municipal officers dispatched to the camp and giving residents 48 hours to move out with all their belongings. properties. Forty-eight hours, with a multi-year waiting list for housing, only 27 emergency shelter beds for adults and hundreds of people in the same situation. We wonder how this fits in with people’s idea of ​​Guelph as a compassionate community. Does this sound safe? Fair? Strategic?

The Holiday Inn facilities in Scottsdale could easily be converted into affordable accommodation. Additional hotel spaces could be used for food / medical / social service programs to provide individuals with relevant access to general well-being. Council member Phil Allt said in Guelph Today: “It would make perfect supportive housing. We hope to continue this conversation.

We know it would take work, funding, and organization, but there are plenty of examples to guide you. Wilfrid Laurier University worked with the Region of Waterloo and local social service providers to develop emergency housing in the Waterloo Campus Co-op Residence building at the onset of the pandemic, stating: “Laurier is supporting the efforts Continues from the region, the City of Waterloo, local social service agencies and other levels of government to provide housing and services to community members who need additional support. ”

As the owner of this property in Scottsdale, could the University of Guelph take a similar stance to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our own community? As residents of Guelph, are we prepared to accept our current housing services as adequate? If we don’t act now, how can we expect the affordable housing situation to improve?

We encourage the City of Guelph and the University of Guelph to reconsider their direction and take action to improve the safety and well-being of the community. We encourage anyone interested in seeing more creative affordable housing options to call or email their city councilors and request a review of the ability of the Scottsdale site and other future projects to be used to meet needs. critical housing premises.

We can do better by choosing to take into account the needs of all members of our community.


Adrienne Crowder, Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy Manager on behalf of the Peer Advisory Committee

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