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Waterloo area close to opening new outdoor shelters for homeless populationOUS News

The Waterloo area says it is closing new outdoor shelters for homeless people as an expression of interest for someone to oversee operations, while a second expression of interest for land for interim housing solutions Closes on Monday.

The area says employees are working with municipalities in the area to find suitable locations for outdoor shelters.

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It notes that with the increasing number of people in need of shelter, it is looking to open several sites outside the downtown core that can be opened up quickly.

“The response to the new model and the recognition of the need has been really positive,” said Community Services Commissioner Peter Sweeney.

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“We are facing an unprecedented housing crisis that requires looking at new approaches to support residents while the community collectively works to increase access to housing.”

The region says its planned outdoor shelters will be safer than camps because they will offer running water, washrooms, laundry services, heating and electricity.

“We are working hard to get the operation of outdoor shelters in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge in the coming months,” Sweeney said.

“Our expectation is that this model will provide another option for people to connect to services as they transition to more permanent housing.”

Outdoor shelters will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have supportive services and security.

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More than 1,000 people are homeless in the area, says Waterloo area

The area says it surveyed about 100 homeless people in the area, which showed that many would be willing to move to the interim model.

It added that the survey also helped plan what services would be provided.

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