Region to open inclusive emergency shelter, welcoming all gender identities, couples, and pets

Posted on Tuesday June 21, 2022

Waterloo Region – In response to feedback from individuals with lived experience, the Region of Waterloo is opening a new emergency shelter to support all gender identities, couples, and pets.

Starting on Friday, June 24, 2022, the new emergency shelter will operate in the former Edith MacIntosh Child Care Centre located at 104 Stirling Avenue South in Kitchener. Operated by The Working Centre, this location will provide overnight shelter for up to 60 individuals from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., seven days a week.

“Listening and responding to the needs of those experiencing homelessness is vital,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “This new emergency shelter will support all gender identities, couples, and those with pets, keeping individuals together with their loved ones and connecting them with the supports they need. While we have more work to do, this new shelter is a step in the right direction.”

For the last 40 years, The Working Centre has provided dedicated support in the community by responding to issues of unemployment and poverty in Waterloo Region.

“The Edith MacIntosh site will provide vital access to much-needed emergency shelter and supports,” said Stephanie Mancini of The Working Centre. “We have been grateful to St. Andrew's Church for providing shelter space through the winter, and we feel it is important to continue to provide shelter space through the summer.  As we work to increase the number of supportive housing units, shelter spaces that are welcoming and safe form an important base of stability for people."

The Edith MacIntosh shelter opens as temporary emergency shelters at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and the YW in Kitchener are to close near the end of this month.

“The number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region and across the country is unprecedented,” said Regional Councillor Jim Erb. “The addition of this emergency shelter will increase access across the Region, however the system is still facing pressures and increased demand. I want to thank the YW, St. Andrew’s Church and The Working Centre for stepping up and serving our community when it needed it most and their continued support.”

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