Kingston’s City Council has approved a plan to partner with Tipi Moza – Kingston’s only Indigenous housing provider – to offer a supportive Indigenous Housing Centre at 113 Lower Union St.
Indigenous people in Kingston are disproportionately affected by housing shortages, poverty and health challenges – a key finding of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing in 2020. The study found approximately 25 per cent of shelter users are Indigenous people, although they represent only 8 per cent of the general population.
“This exciting partnership with Tipi Moza will create 19 much-needed supportive housing spots for Indigenous residents. These individuals will benefit from a model that provides on-site support and services, which is new to Kingston,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.
“It will also build the City’s understanding of the needs and perspectives of Indigenous Kingstonians as we seek to identify and address systemic barriers on our journey of reconciliation.”
Work to upgrade the building on Lower Union, including the removal of asbestos, is now underway and is expected to be completed to allow the Indigenous Housing Centre to open this fall.
“This partnership demonstrates a true step toward authentic Indigenous inclusion,” says Robert Rittwage, Tipi Moza Communications Director. “We are grateful for the opportunity and will continue to walk this path of healing and reconciliation, together.”
The five-year plan for the Indigenous Housing Centre includes a housing services agreement with access to cultural feedback, advice and support from Tipi Moza.
The city will provide $75,000 per year in operating funding plus rent subsidies for the first two years and tenants will pay social-assistance-level rent to reside at the Centre. A community engagement meeting is being planned to introduce Tipi Moza and the proposed centre to the public.
“Tipi Moza is the local expert at serving the housing needs of Kingston’s Indigenous community. We are proud to be able to offer the space for this promising centre,” says Mitchell Grange, the City’s Manager of Housing and Homelessness.
Tipi Moza will:
- offer culturally supportive case management for those living on-site and for Indigenous clients who are seeking housing across Kingston; and
- provide the City’s Housing Department and other housing agencies with cultural proficiency training and advice
Last May, the city acquired 113 Lower Union St. from Addiction and Mental Health Services (KFLA) for $2.15 million. The Kingston Youth Shelter had been using the site to accommodate its clients during the pandemic, but recently moved to 805 Ridley Dr.