Showers, computers and more mental health services coming to housing and homelessness hub

The city's former Water World property is the current location of the Homelessness and Housing Help Hub. The city is expanding services this summer as part of the Strengthen the core plan. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

Public computers and shower facilities are two of the new amenities coming to the Windsor's Homelessness and Housing Help Hub (H4) this summer, part of a council endorsement to expand services at the hub and improve the downtown core.

The city said Tuesday that as part of the Strengthen the Core plan approved by council last month, they'll be adding more recreation programming, a hot meal for those experiencing homelessness and the expansion of health care and mental health support on site, in addition to shower and computer facilities.

Professionals from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will be on site from 4 p.m. to midnight seven days a week.

"These added supports and increased access to expanded services are critical to the success of this plan, and to helping lift vulnerable residents, for the benefit of our entire community," said Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino. "The work we do here begins in the core but expands far beyond the downtown."

The city has already announced plans to extend hours at the site to seven days a week, 8 a.m. to midnight.

The Strengthen the Core plan includes seven core priorities, and adding services at the H4 hub falls under the third property, dubbed healthy spaces.

The city will spend nearly half of the plan's cost, or almost $1.5 million of the plan's total $3.2 million price tag, on expanding services and hours at the H4 centre. Another large chunk will be spent on adding more auxiliary officers in the downtown core.

According to the city, more than 4,000 individuals have accessed care and resources through the H4 hub between April 2020 and April 2024 and more than 300 families have secured housing through their services.

The site is currently located in the former Water World property.

But the city is looking to move the hub further out of the city's core, likely to a site on Wellington Street just south of Wyandotte Street West. The new site could be open in a minimum of three years, and the Downtown Mission has said it plans to relocate to the area as well.

The location will have at least 64 one-bedroom housing units and more space for programs, services and amenities.

"While work is underway to bring that site to life, city council is investing in this expansion of hours and amenities where it is needed right now," Dilkens said.

"We said that we would focus on creating sustainable healthy spaces as part of the Strengthen the Core strategy, and we are committed to Building Windsor's Future in a way that ensures no one is left behind."

But residents in the neighbourhood are opposed to the location, saying it'll compromise their safety and bring crime to their neighbourhood.