Former Police Station to Become Temporary Homeless Shelter


Brantford City Council has voted in favor of locating a winter homeless shelter at the former Greenwhich Street Police Station at a cost of $393 thousand for the five months of operation.

The Special Council Meeting was held Tuesday night to consider and decide the best option for a temporary shelter plan for the remainder of the 2019/2020 season. The current shelters in the city, Rosewood House and the Salvation Army Booth Centre, have already been at full capacity and unable to accommodate an influx over the winter months, prompting council to look at other solutions.

Other locations considered prior to the vote, included the Beckett Adult Leisure Centre, the Mohawk Park Pavilion, and Lions Park Arena.

A current homeless encampment adjacent to the former Greenwich Street Police Station. The station is slated to become a temporary shelter for the remaining winter months.

“Everyone knows we have a homeless problem here and it’s a problem that has accelerated. There’s a whole bunch of reasons for that, but when you get a group of people that are camping on city property and that’s the best option they have because available housing is pretty low, the city felt they had to do something.”

Tim Philp, Executive Director, Rosewood House

Rosewood House has been given the responsibility to manage the new temporary shelter. Executive Director, Tim Philp, says he already in the process of hiring staff for the operation. Philp notes, that operation will not be as comprehensive as Rosewood House as the temporary location will only provide shelter overnight.

“Of course it’s not a perfect solution. Several councillors have called it a band-aid solution. It is indeed a band-aid solution, but we can’t let the perfect solution stand in the way of the affordable and doable solution. We’re going to make sure that no one freezes to death.”

Tim Philp, Executive Director, Rosewood House

Members of the public observe Brantford City Councillors discuss solutions and make a decision for the city’s temporary shelter of the homeless population Tuesday evening.

In response to the sudden blast of winter weather last week, the city opened an emergency warming station and shelter at the Beckett Adult Leisure Centre for overnight use. That emergency plan was lifted last Saturday. The city reported that thirty-eight people stayed at the Beckett shelter during the week and another four used the location as a warming centre only. Those in encampments expressed their concern about losing their belongings if they chose to take advantage of an overnight bed. City officials note the former police station has storage lockers where belongings can be safely protected during an overnight stay.

The winter shelter will be able to accommodate between fifty and sixty people. It will open on December 2nd and run until the end of April 2020.