Why is the City doing this?

    The number of people currently experiencing homelessness in the City and County of Peterborough is unprecedented, and like many communities across Canada, we are living through a crisis. 

    In response to this crisis, the City of Peterborough is using the City-owned property at 210 Wolfe Street to operate as the site of a modular bridge housing community. The site accommodates 50 people currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

    Modular bridge housing is an important tool in the City’s overall strategy to ending chronic homelessness and compliments other actions by the City. 

    What does the site on Wolfe Street look like?

    The site has 50 cabins for 50 people and provides private, safer and inclusive accommodation for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

    Each cabin measuring approximately 107 square feet and is furnished and equipped with electricity, heating and cooling. 

    The Wolfe Street Building provides amenities like common space and washrooms, laundry services 

    There is a cabin office for security staff at the main entrance. 

    The location is staffed 24/7, managed by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough, a contracted third-party agency and includes support services and security. 

    Safety and security of the occupants, staff, and neighbours are of critical importance. 

    Who lives in the modular bridge housing?

    The community provides housing for individuals and couples currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness from across the Peterborough Region.   

    Does the site allow couples?

    Yes, couples are accommodated. People in a relationship each have their own unit and can choose how they set up and use their units.

    Does the site allow those with pets?

    The site welcomes people with pets and has policies in place to ensure the safety of residents, staff, and pets. 

    Why did the City choose this location?

    This location on Wolfe Street is municipally-owned, allowing the City to get the site up and running as quickly as possible to respond to the unprecedented number of individuals in our community experiencing homelessness. 

    This is an interim solution, as outlined in Council Report CSSS23-013, which can be found in the Important Links section of this page.  

    The location will provide one more option for those experiencing homelessness, in addition to the approximately 127 shelter beds in the housing system. 

    How is the City allowed to put these units on land that is not zoned for multi-residential use?

    The City’s role as government is to provide public services to its residents, and where warranted, has the capacity and authority to do so, in areas where existing zoning may not specifically permit the contemplated use of the lands. In this case, the public service the City is providing is temporary accommodation, again where warranted, to take the steps necessary to provide that service, on land and in structures not otherwise specifically zoned for the proposed use.  

    Who operates the site?

    The site is operated by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough as contracted third-party agency. 

    When did the site open?

    The site opened and people began moving in on November 27, 2023. 

    What services are provided at the site?

    The site is staffed 24/7, managed by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough and includes support services and security.  

    Services provided include case management and service navigation supportsmental health and addiction supports, with a strong focus on connecting residents to permanent housing options. 

    Will meals be provided at the site for residents?

    Residents are provided one hot meal per day. Residents also have access to small appliances to prepare meals.

    What facilities are available for people living in the modular community?

    Each person has their own modular home that is heated, cooled in summer months and comes with a double bed and a mini fridge. People are supported to personalize their units and acquire other furniture they would like to have.

    The site is also equipped with washrooms, showers, laundry and a community space. The community space has a kitchenette where residents can prepare food.

    Have those with lived experience been involved in the plans for the modular bridge housing site?

    The City of Peterborough is engaging people who are experiencing homelessness and their feedback will be incorporated in the plans where possible.  

    Through a verbal survey of about 75 people experiencing homelessness who were staying on the site in tents, most indicated they would be willing to relocate to an interim model like this one.  

    The survey also helped identify the type of services that should be included in the model. 

    How are people be selected to move to the site?

    Offers for accommodation at the site are based on a prioritization model developed by the City of Peterborough’s Social Services Division and with consultation with community partners.   

    The site is designed for those currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

    What community engagement has the City done? How are you informing the community?

    The City has created a liaison committee to ensure voices of neighbours are heard and accommodated where possible. 

    The City consulted with those with lived experience of homelessness, service providers and community partners. Outreach workers have had – and continue to have – one-on-one conversations about the project with people experiencing homelessness. The City also held stakeholder meetings with community partner agencies, including agencies that will be offering services as part of the comprehensive plan. 

    City Council approved a staff report which outlined the urgency related to homelessness and possible solutions. There were public delegations where voices of members of the public, local agencies and individuals experiencing homelessness could voice their opinions. 

    If you have questions or would like the opportunity to provide feedback. Please reach out to the City of Peterborough’s Social Services Division: 

    • Questions can be submitted via the Q&A section on this site 
    • Email socialservices@peterborough.ca 
    • Call 705-748-8830 

    How much does this modular bridge housing project cost?

    Rent is paid by individuals living in the units and the remaining project costs are funded by the Province of Ontario through the Homelessness Prevention Program. 

    The cost of construction and expected operating costs are shared in Report CSSS24-002, Modular Community Update.

    Do people living in the modular community pay rent?

    Yes. Individuals pay their OW/ODSP shelter allowance or a Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI).

    What are the causes of homelessness?

    Many communities in Ontario and across Canada have also been experiencing an increase in chronic homelessness. It is a complex issue and is due to many factors including:  

    • Social assistance rates  

    • Housing affordability crisis  

    • Rental vacancies crisis  

    • Increasingly complex needs of individuals – severe mental health, physical health, substance use disorders  

    • COVID-19 pandemic impacts on employment, access to health care and mental health care, housing affordability  

    • Systemic oppression impacting those identifying as African, Black, Indigenous and racialized.  

    Solutions to this crisis require additional supports from all levels of government. As well, it needs a community-focused and led approach to include solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.  

    The City of Peterborough continues to play a leadership role, bringing together partners from various systems to work on this very complex issue.  

    This seems like such a challenging problem. Are you making any progress on solving homelessness?

    While much more needs to be done, we did make significant progress in 2022: 

    • 296 people transitioned from homelessness into permanent housing 
    • 38 Rent Geared to Income (RGI) units were added  
    • 20 new affordable rental units were added 
    • 41 new affordable homeownership units were created 
    • 716 people each month are prevented from becoming homeless by receiving supports in the form of rent supplements from the City of Peterborough 

    This project has only been approved until November 2025. What happens after this date?

    Based on the funding available, project impacts and learnings from other communities, staff will return to City Council in early 2025 to propose and get approval for next steps. Returning early in 2025 will allow for the time needed for a smooth transition plan.