Small sleeping cabins hope to solve big problems in Kingston, Ont.
A new project to put those experiencing homelessness in sleeping cabins is finding success in its first few months in Kingston, Ont.
Barry Shea is one of those who use the cabins. After a decade of sleeping on the street, he says he’s happy to have the four walls.
“It’s not much, but it’s home,” he says while giving CTV News Ottawa a tour. "You’re safe, you’re dry, you’re not cold…It’s a place I can call home. Which I haven’t had."
The 10 cabins have been set up outside an arena west of Kingston’s downtown for the summer. The project by Our Livable Solutions is meant to be a transition, and a step towards finding a permanent place to live.
Shea says he feels he has stability.
"I’ve got a nurse coming in, I’ve got a worker, I’ve got an occupational therapist, everything I need to survive," he says.
Executive Director Chrystal Wilson says that’s the goal.
"While they’re with us they’ll work on life skills, get connected to different services agencies, depending on their needs and work towards independence."
Kingston council approved the cabins in response to the growing problem of homelessness, and says a study shows it’s less expensive than playing for people to stay in hotels.
It was created with the help of Ontario government funding for social services and private donations.
The arena location was chosen to host the cabins in the summer because it has a kitchen, washroom and community spaces. In the six months the project has been running, Wilson says 14 people have used the cabins, and at least one person has found a job.
"We have somebody moving out today and actually we should see a transition of three to four people this month," she explains. "We’re expecting to see a big turn over of our residents this month."
Wilson says other cities have reached out to learn more about the project.
Shea says the biggest thing for him is the sense of community he gets here.
"I get along with everyone here, they all look out for me, I care about every one of them here," he says.