Drop In Centre finalizes purchase of former Parkview Motel in Guelph

GUELPH – Thanks in part to funding from the province and Wellington County, Guelph’s Drop In Centre has secured the purchase of the former Parkview Motel here for a permanent housing project for the homeless.

The motel, located at 721 Woolwich Street, will be named “Grace Gardens”, in honour of Grace Frank, whose financial donation helped obtain the property.

The organization leveraged its assets and received $1.2 million in funding from the County of Wellington and Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund to purchase the Parkview Motel.

“Our government’s Social Services Relief Fund was designed to provide both immediate and longer-term housing and homelessness relief in communities across Ontario,” said Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.

“I’m happy we are working with Wellington County and the Guelph community to help meet the need for safe and affordable housing, and protect vulnerable people from COVID-19.”

Warden Kelly Linton said Wellington County is  “committed to working collaboratively with partners in our community to end homelessness in Guelph-Wellington”.

The former motel has served as an emergency shelter since 1986 and, pending rezoning, will become a permanent supportive housing (PSH) project.

“We’re hopeful that we can proceed with our proposal to create an intentionally-planned and beautified space to provide housing stability and supports for 32 individuals – that is our first choice,” says Gail Hoekstra, executive director of the Drop In Centre.

“If the zoning is approved, we are in a much better position to be eligible for government funding to help with the renovations to create the best version of Grace Gardens for our community.”

If the zoning change is not approved, officials say Grace Gardens will continue to be a shelter, providing temporary accommodations to individuals who are homeless, with staff members on site.

“We have been working towards a purchase of this nature for nine years,” says Hoekstra.

“Grace Gardens will have an impact, one way or another, in helping us restore hope, safety and grace for individuals who need it most.”

Officials say the facility will be ready for guests in May, with staff spending the next few weeks cleaning and organizing the space.

“Grace Gardens is a perfect example of our community’s dedication to ending homelessness in Guelph and Wellington County,” said David Anderson, chair of the Wellington County’s Social Services Committee.