Sleeping cabins for city’s homeless will be well stocked
Author of the article:Ian MacAlpinePublishing date:Dec 15, 2021 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read
With tiny sleeping cabins arriving soon at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, local volunteers have already mobilized and have collected enough beds, small furnishings, bedding and other items to fully stock the 10 cabins expected to be set up over the next month.
The first two cabins are expected to arrive late Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.Best Boxing Day deals on Amazon Canada 2021
Homeless advocate Chrystal Wilson of the Our Livable Solutions group and local volunteer Dawn Clarke are co-ordinating the collection of the items.
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“I am quite prepared to work on behalf of the organization to get things done, and Chrystal asked Marguerite Van Die and myself if we would be the volunteer co-ordinators,” said Clarke, who has co-ordinated similar efforts for Syrian refugees arriving in Kingston since 2016.
Clarke said she sent emails to everyone on her email list from the Syrian settlement effort looking for help and that the response has been overwhelming.
“I had the absolute knowledge that if I let a large group of people know that we needed individuals to volunteer — each one to take one sleeping cabin and furnish it — people would leap at the chance to do something so useful, and in fact they did,” she said.
“Within hours of sending out that solicitation email, I had eight individuals who said they’d lead a team.”
Two more people volunteered a day later, and now there’s a waiting list of people wanting to help.
“We all see people without housing and people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said. “We all see them in the street and in Belle Park and when we’re walking our dogs. It’s horrific and people really, really care.”
Clarke said the need is urgent at this time of year. One of the candidates for a tiny cabin is now in hospital with frostbite after spending nights in Kingston out in the cold.
Clarke said she was deluged with responses from people offering beds, furniture and other items for the tiny homes.
To co-ordinate the effort, Clarke was able to put one person in charge of each tiny cabin, to avoid duplication of collected items.
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Some of the items collected for each cabin so far include a single bed frame, a new mattress, single bed sheets, a new pillow and pillow case, blankets and comforters, a small chest of drawers, a small bookcase, a few dishes, cutlery, some coffee mugs, a chair and a folding TV table.
The group is still looking for some mini-fridges and new beds.
The cabins would be located on the east side of the harbour building, which is to provide washrooms, shower facilities and indoor meeting spaces where residents can meet with service agencies.
“We’re trying to save lives,” Wilson said during a city council meeting on Nov. 16 where the tiny cabins were approved. “There is no perfect solution, there is no perfect answer, but we have to try.
“We are trying to put the most vulnerable Kingstonians, people who are citizens, into somewhere safe for the winter because they will die if we leave them on the streets.”
The city is to provide $257,000 for the purchase of two cabins and supports the project’s organizer, Our Livable Solutions. The Vuorinen estate also donated $150,000 to the city to use for the project, Wilson said.