New shelter for women, children expected to open next year after City of Windsor buys hotel

·2 min read
 Lady Laforet is the executive director of the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)
Lady Laforet is the executive director of the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)

The head of an organization that will run Windsor's new shelter for women and families says the extra beds will mean the end of the "devastating turn-away calls" the agency makes when it has run out of space.

"Hundreds of more women and families a year will have access to immediate, safe, supported shelter space," said Lady Laforet, executive director of the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families.

City officials announced the building of the new shelter, located at at 500 Tuscarora Street in the downtown, on Friday.

The city has entered into an agreement with the Welcome Centre the to operate the facility.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC
Katerina Georgieva/CBC

Construction at the facility, a former hotel, is expected to last until late March. The city had been using the building as an COVID-19 emergency isolation and recovery shelter before it purchased the space. The province contributed $7.75 million to the project through its Social Services Relief Fund.

"As a result of this acquisition, we are going to be able to create a safe, dedicated space to support this vulnerable population," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said.

Laforet said she knows first hand the number of women and children who will benefit from the investment for years to come.

"The building behind me might look like simple bricks and mortar, but in reality this is really a showcase ... of how far we've come, not just as an agency but as a community in our responses to women and children and how they experience homelessness," she said.

The building will have upwards of 32 beds, Laforet said. Construction was expected to start next week but it has been delayed because the building will be used as an isolation centre for a few more weeks due to a round of COVID-19 testing for those within the shelter system that was ordered by public health.

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