New A Place Called Home shelter open to the public in early June

By William McGinn

Dave Tilley of APCH addresses a gathered crowd for the opening of the shelter. All photos: William McGinn.

After two years, the ribbon has been cut for the grand reopening of Lindsay’s homeless shelter, A Place Called Home (APCH). President of the volunteer board of directors, Karen Round, told the crowd as far as she knew it is the first ever purpose-built homeless shelter in Canada.

Chief Operations Officer Dave Tilley explained when COVID was on the rise, it was apparent their old building was not suitable for social distancing. In conversation with Kawartha Lakes city staff and the health unit, they decided to start renovations for a new shelter and were able to move operations into The Knights Inn motel.

Karen Round, left, and Nicole Bryant, right, of APCH.

Round said this was a task made even harder by the fact “the amount of people that became homeless during the pandemic grew ten-fold. We typically have about 19 residents at a time, and we had over 100 at that motel.”

Aiding in social distancing, the new building includes one bathroom for every two bedrooms. “Looking to the future,” said Round, “we don’t want to look to the future of pandemics but it is a reality, and we are well quipped.”

For this project, the organization needed to raise $1.5 million, a goal they have just about reached, with enough certainty for the project to be finished. “We just chose not to be daunted by it,” said Round when asked if it felt like a challenge raising the money. “We took the bull by the horns, and with the people on the board and their multitude of talents, we just drew on everyone’s strengths and this is the result.”

When asked what people in need can look forward to the most about this new building, Tilley said, “dignified accommodations.”

“We are much better set up to handle folks who have physical accessibility needs. The old buildings were not purpose-built to be permanent shelters. This building is built for not just those who are homeless, but also homeless with physical needs beyond the norm. It should serve them very well into the future.”

Exploring the new homeless shelter.

The brickwork by the entrance has names of A Place Called Home’s supporters and volunteers. Secretary of the board Glenda Morris said they were put in because they had confidence and faith in the agency.

Morris said she was especially grateful for how it was a place anyone in need could come to be able to sit down and talk.

Board member Brian Walsh said he is very grateful for the building, but “it is also terrible that we need it. I’m looking forward to the day where this purpose-built shelter will be repurposed because it won’t be needed anymore.”

It was also revealed the building is to be dedicated to the late Dominic Fox, with a plaque saying his contributions played a key role in the development and growth of A Place Called Home. Dominic’s family showed up, including his son John, who revealed the plaque will be facing Dom’s old office on the second floor of the White’s building across the street.

A Place Called Home will be open to the public on June 6.

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