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 announcing that a portion of the City-owned property at 210 Wolfe Street will operate as the site of a new modular bridge housing community. The site will accommodate 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 will the site on Wolfe Street look like?

    The site will accommodate up to 50 individuals. 

    Individual cabins will provide private, safer and inclusive accommodation for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

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

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

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

    The location will be staffed 24/7, managed by a contracted third-party agency and will include support services and security. 

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

    Who will be using the modular bridge housing?

    The modular bridge housing will be used by individuals and couples currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness from across the Peterborough Region.   

    Will the site accommodate couples?

    Yes, couples will be accommodated at the outdoor shelter.  

    Will the site allow those with pets?

    The site will welcome people with pets and will have 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 106 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 will be operating the site?

    The site will be operated by contracted third-party agency. The third-party agency has not yet been confirmed.

    When will the site begin operating?

    The City is working closely with partners and expects the bridge housing to be up and running in the fall.  

    What services will be provided at the site?

    The site will be staffed 24/7, managed by a third-party agency and will include support services and security.  

    Services provided will 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?

    Operational details about food services are still under discussion with the service provider. 

    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 will people be selected to move to the site?

    Offers for accommodation at the site will be 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 with the Wolfe Street Neighbourhood Association 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. 

    As the City prepares to open this site, partnerships with neighbours and stakeholders will help to ensure we are having ongoing conversations to respond to any concerns. 

    We recognize you may 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 will this modular bridge housing project cost?

    City of Peterborough Council voted in May 2023 to install a series of modular homes at the Wolfe St. site by October 2023. We are currently determining final costs for set-up and operation of the site, including costs for the modular units and service buildings. 

    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