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Queen’s building to serve as temporary home for Kingston Youth Shelter

Construction of sleeping pods at MacGillivray-Brown Hall will provide safe spaces for local youths.

  • A number of community partners, including Queen's University, are working together to build a temporary facility for Kingston Youth Shelter. (Queen's University)
    A number of community partners, including Queen's University, are working together to build a temporary facility for Kingston Youth Shelter. (Queen's University)
  • A team from Habitat from Humanity help build sleeping pods for the Kingston Youth Shelter inside Queen's University's McGillivray-Brown Hall. (Queen's University)
    A team from Habitat from Humanity help build sleeping pods for the Kingston Youth Shelter inside Queen's University's McGillivray-Brown Hall. (Queen's University)
  • When construction is complete, a total of 16 sleeping pods will be available at McGillivray-Brown Hall, providing a safe sleeping space for youth in need of shelter. (Queen's University)
    When construction is complete, a total of 16 sleeping pods will be available at McGillivray-Brown Hall, providing a safe sleeping space for youth in need of shelter. (Queen's University)

Work has started that will transform Queen’s University’s McGillivray-Brown Hall into a temporary emergency youth shelter.

The project, in collaboration with the Kingston Youth Shelter, City of Kingston, United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Habitat for Humanity Kingston Limestone Region and Atkinson Home Hardware, will see the construction of 16 sleeping pods inside the Barrie Street facility.

The Kingston Youth Shelter needs a temporary home as it prepares to move to a new bigger location within the city. When notified of this community need, Queen’s University stepped up to provide the support.

“The effects of the pandemic have exacerbated the growing issue of youth homelessness, and Kingston Youth Shelter continues to provide a critical service in the city,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) at Queen’s. “As they prepare to move into a new facility this fall, Kingston Youth Shelter was in need of a temporary space. We are pleased that Queen’s was able to accommodate the Kingston Youth Shelter requirements by providing a temporary location,”

The temporary shelter at Queen’s will be used until the fall once renovations of the new facility are complete. In the short term it also means that the shelter can increase the number of youths they can provide support to.

“It means that we can expand the number of youth we can provide a sleeping area to from six to 16 each night, which is a huge difference,” says Anne Brown, Executive Director, Kingston Youth Shelter, adding that the new set-up has a number of advantages over the current accommodations. “This will provide better separation between the youths for sleeping, and more privacy and dignity for them each night.”

Building the pods, with materials from Atkinson Home Hardware, was a team from Habitat for Humanity Kingston Limestone Region, including CEO Cathy Borowec.

“When we got the call from Anne last week asking if we could help putting together these pods, and loan our build experience, we put together a team and we’re here,” Borowec says.

The Kingston Youth Shelter provides a safe environment for youth ages 16-24. Beds are available on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.