City Adds More Low Barrier Shelter Options to Address Homelessness

Published on: 2023/03/15 - in News

The City of Kingston has taken significant steps in recent months to increase the number of low barrier shelter options to address the homelessness crisis in the city. The effort comes after engaging with encampment residents living in the area of Belle Park/ICH and working with multiple organizations to provide suitable options for those in need.

According to Lanie Hurdle, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, the addition of more low barrier shelter options has led to fewer people residing in the encampment. Over 50 spaces were added to new shelter locations in January, including spaces to accommodate couples, women-only, people with pets, and a wide range of support services, including meals, mental health support, and storage facilities.

Despite the migration from the encampment to low barrier shelters, the system still has the capacity to serve more people. The City is committed to working with partners to facilitate the relocation of remaining encampment residents in accordance with City Council’s previously approved motion at the January 10, 2023 council meeting.

The City’s approach has been one of empathy, taking into account the complexity of needs for all involved. Over the past few years, community-wide partners have worked with outreach staff and service providers to conduct ongoing needs assessments to provide safer and healthier alternatives to those camping in public spaces.

The City of Kingston is working in accordance with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision related to homeless encampments in Ontario. The City offers a variety of low barrier and accessible shelter options informed by ongoing engagement with encampment residents.

“This continues to be a complex issue that requires a multi-level government response and a more coordinated humane approach, including Provincial health care investment to address the complexity of mental health and addictions needs,” said Kingston’s Mayor, Bryan Paterson. “Without that critical component, people aren’t getting the right support they need to live more sustainable lives.”

The City operates under a Housing First model that delivers a framework to offer more intensive supports and access to permanent housing with supports that assists individuals in obtaining and retaining housing.

It has leveraged municipal, provincial, and federal funding to create more than 490 affordable rental housing units and continues to work with partners to create new affordable units and congregate living facilities through the Rapid Housing Initiative funding.

Find out more about Housing and Homelessness programs in Kingston.

Emergency Shelters:

Adelaide Drop-In

* 38 Cowdy St.
* Drop-in every night from 9 p.m. – 9 a.m.
* Overnight, adult coed drop-in with 36-40 spaces available on a first come, first served basis. Space for couples and survival partners.
* Phone: 613-483-8580

Concession St. Centre

* 218 Concession St.
* Drop-in every night from 8 – 11 p.m.
* Overnight adult coed drop-in with 25 spaces, open 9 p.m. – 9 a.m. on a first come, first served basis. Space for couples and survival partners. Pets permitted.
* Phone: 613-542-6672 ext. 310

In From the Cold Emergency Shelter

* 540 Montreal St.
* Open 24/7
* Adult coed shelter with 22 beds available on a first come, first served basis. Storage for personal belongings available based on capacity. Pets permitted (must be leashed or crated and depends on pet behaviour).
* Phone: 613-542-6672 ext. 2

Kingston Youth Shelter

* MacGillivray Brown Hall, 218 Barrie St. – Temporary location until April 2023
* Open every night from 8 p.m. – 9 a.m.
* Overnight shelter for youths aged 16-24 with 19 beds on a first come, first served basis.
* Phone: 613-549-4236

Lily’s Place

* 333 Kingscourt Ave.
* Open 24/7
* Shelter for families with children with 19 beds on a first come, first served basis and access to motels as required.
* Phone: 613-542-6672 ext. 3

St. Mary’s Drop-In Centre

* 260 Brock St.
* Open 1 − 4 p.m. Monday to Friday with services for coed adults. Overnight drop-in services for men with 12 spaces available is open 9 p.m. – 8 a.m. on a first come, first served basis.
* Phone: 613-546-5521 ext. 3

Drop-In Services: 

Integrated Care Hub

* 661 Montreal St.
* Open 24/7
* Drop-in services and support including harm reduction supplies, meals, referral supports, adult coed overnight drop-in. Space for couples and survival partners. Storage for personal belongings available based on capacity. Pets permitted.
* Phone: 613-329-6417

Salvation Army Drop-In

* 342 Patrick St.
* Daytime services from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. Closed noon – 1 p.m. with services for adults and youth.
* Phone: 613-548-4411

One Roof Youth Drop-In Daytime Services

* 620 Princess St.
* Open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
* Phone: 613-542-6672

Transitional Housing :

Dawn House

* Specialized transitional housing for women. Pets permitted.
* Phone: 613-545-9640 to check availability

Interval House

* 24/7 Crisis Line and emergency shelter for women and children leaving abusive situations.
* Phone: 613-546-1777 to check availability

Tipi Moza

* Indigenous supportive housing.
* Phone: 613-547-1134 to check availability


* Transitional housing for men.
* Phone: 613-548-8466 to check availability

The City’s Housing & Social Services office at 362 Montreal St. has additional secure storage available. Individuals can then store a totes bin on site and access their belongings during agreed upon hours. Items can be stored for up to 60 days and longer if a client contacts the City to extend this time.

All locations have staff who can coordinate referrals to a variety of supports, including housing services and more. Home Base Housing’s Street Outreach Team regularly checks on known individuals experiencing homelessness.

If you are experiencing homelessness or are concerned about a person in need of help, please call 613-542-6672 ext. 130. If you or someone you know is in distress, please call the Addiction and Mental Health – KFLA 24/7 Crisis Line: 613-544-4229 or 1-866-616-6005. If it is an emergency, please call 911.

Photo: Matthew Woitunski (cc)