Temporary Housing-Focused Shelter at 29 Riordon St. in St. Catharines

Niagara Region is working hard to make important progress to help people in our community who need housing support.

A temporary shelter supporting up to 60 individuals experiencing homelessness is set up at 29 Riordon St. in St. Catharines. The shelter is in place for approximately two years, starting February 2024.

Once a permanent site is open, operations will move to the new shelter and the modular units will be used elsewhere in Niagara.

Shelter features

Niagara Region Homelessness Services manages the temporary shelter 24 hours a day. The shelter includes:

  • 50 rooms, each under 1,000 square feet, with a mix of single and double occupancy for couples or adult families
  • Nine washrooms
  • Six showers
  • Three washer and dryer sets
  • A kitchen that will serve three meals daily
  • A 3,000-square-foot common room connected to the kitchen where clients can receive meals and work on their goals, including finding permanent housing
  • Outdoor pavilion and picnic tables
  • 24/7 staff to support clients
  • Appropriate facilities and programs for the homeless in your community

Temporary shelter operations

  • Reasons for a shelter

    Niagara Region worked with a homeless expert consultant to conduct a Shelter Capacity Review. The review determined that the Region should move away from seasonal shelter, and convert these services to all year, full day shelters as a best practice.

    We are following these recommendations and converting the seasonal shelters in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines to better support clients and communities.

  • Who the shelter is for

    The temporary shelter is for people from across Niagara experiencing absolute homelessness. It includes spaces for adult men, adult women, couples and adult children.

    The shelter supports people who are living outdoors in the surrounding neighbourhood and will focus on those who are chronically homeless.

    The shelter spaces support the need for overnight, indoor accommodations, and allows clients to stay inside during the day and work toward their goals.

    We prioritize clients who are experiencing chronic homelessness and have a history of living unsheltered.

  • Safety and security

    Low barrier shelters aim to make access to shelters easier for homeless clients.

    With low barrier, there may be misconceptions that few or no measures are in place to keep staff and clients safe.

    Safety is a top priority. Policies, procedures and practices are set up to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone at the shelter.

    There is zero tolerance for:

    • Violence or threats of violence
    • Sexual harassment or sexual violence
    • Theft
    • Excessive damage to property
    • Arson or drug dealing

    The site has security cameras, a privacy fence and operates under shelter policies that align with Regional shelter standards and the appropriate staffing levels.

    Regular exterior site walkabouts happen every 15 to 30 minutes to boost safety.

    Onsite services and staffing offer all meals, case management, income supports, health supports, mental health and addiction referrals and supports, housing supports and life skills guidance.

  • Funding and approvals

    The money for this project was approved through Regional Council, while the use of the Riordon Street site was approved by St. Catharines City Council.

    The site is zoned for this use and no additional approvals are needed.

  • Community concerns and neighbourhood impact

    The Ontario Human Rights Code does not allow people to choose who lives in their neighbourhood, and research has demonstrated that shelters and other social infrastructure will not impact property values.

    Read Here Comes the Neighborhood: Supportive Housing and Property Values to learn about the research.

    The shelter will bring 24/7 staff to support clients, and appropriate facilities and programs for the homeless in your community.

    To support the shelter and be a good neighbour, we will provide contact information for community members to address concerns and work together on solutions and improvements.

    During construction and initial operations, you will be able to raise questions or concerns about the site through a community member on the Niagara Regional Housing Development Committee.

Housing-focused emergency shelters

The emergency shelter system in Niagara operates from a housing-focused lens. This means the goal is to make a person's experience with homelessness brief and nonrecurring.

Clients staying in these shelters are expected to work toward finding permanent housing.

Find housing-focused emergency shelters in Niagara.

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