In a exclusive interview, Northumberland County Warden Mandy Martin spoke about the purchasing of the former retirement residence in Cobourg.
The final arrangements on the purchase of the 47-bedroom complex at 310 Division Street will be received tomorrow (Wednesday, December 6, 2023).
The complex was purchased to address the urgent local need for housing and shelter services.
The County had to work fast on the acquisition with it taking approximately three weeks to one month.
“And we jumped at it,” describing it as a “quasi-miracle to have this and this opportunity.”
With Transition House, The Warming Hub operating separately the new facility offers a chance of “consolidating needs.”
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
One of the benefits of the facility is it already is zoned properly and meets the code for requirements.
“All those aspects of building facilities have already been met. I think it’s such a wonderful opportunity.”
Martin said they are looking into the wrap around services, but it will likely by the Spring 2024 by the time the complex opens.
Northumberland County will work in partnership with Transition House and other services that will be supporting people that use the facility.
Because of the buildings size, it can address the services that Transition House currently offers and possibly The Warming Hub which is currently at St. Peter’s Church and costs approximately $200,000 a year to operate.
Another benefit at 310 Division Street is the facility offers a fully operational industrial kitchen.
“The rooms are already in place, the accessibility issues have already been addressed and then we can start matching and and considering how these facilities are going to be used.”
To the critics of the purchase, Martin reiterates that it will be a facility with more services than Transition House currently offers.
“The other rent geared to income, or shelter or housing will all be addressed.”
Another benefit is the new site will be off Chapel Street and on a main thoroughfare.
With the location of the building, Martin said it “tidy’s up” and “it hits a lot of the marks we want to do.”
Martin said that everything fell into place for the purchase, but going forward, the success of it will be up to the individuals who use it.
“You’ can’t round up people and force them to stay or live anywhere.”
As of Tuesday, December 5, 2023, there were 17 rooms available and further adds the County has had rooms for months, “but if people aren’t going to take them – we can’t force them.”
“We are meeting our obligation, we are meeting the needs and demand – if some people don’t want to take it up – that’s their decision.”
“But I want it clearly understood, that we have understood the need and we are providing and we have arms open for people. If they chose not to take it, it’s like people choosing not to get on a train, or a bus – if you choose not to move forward – that’s your decision.”
“But as far as I’m concerned the taxpayers of this County and communities are meeting and exceeding our social counties expectations – this isn’t window dressing.”