Grey County to move forward with motel purchase for emergency housing program
Grey County will look to expand emergency housing access with the purchase of the Diamond Motel in Owen Sound. County Council directed staff to finalize an agreement of purchase and sale with the motel operator at a meeting of Committee of the Whole on January 25 at a cost of $3,050,000. The property is located at 713 9th Avenue East in Owen Sound. To finalize the sale, a by-law will be presented to County Council at the next meeting on February 8.
“Homelessness is a problem we see growing in communities across the province and Grey County is no exception,” said Grey County Warden Brian Milne. “Investing in this motel is an investment in safety and security for the residents of our communities who are being left out in the cold.”
Grey County is responsible for providing homelessness services and programs in the area. The current supply of short-term emergency and transitional housing is not sufficient to meet demand now or into the future. Operating 22 rooms at the Diamond Motel is predicted to provide nearly 10,000 nights of accommodation annually through single, double, and family occupancy. It will also add stability to the County’s short-term emergency housing program which utilizes motels. With the purchase, Grey County will be able to offer upwards of 13,000 nights of accommodation to residents experiencing homelessness throughout the year.
As of November 31, 2023, Grey County provided 9,173 nights of accommodation through the program. An additional 992 are expected when December numbers are reported. This has created a deficit of $427,000 in the 2023 calendar year.
“As the demand for homelessness services rise in our community, the purchase of the motel provides more options for people while staying within our available funding. It’s a long-term, sustainable opportunity,” said Warden Milne.
The short-term emergency housing program currently costs around $120 per night per room. The purchase of the Diamond Inn projects a reduction in this cost to $52 per night.
The purchase of the motel would be funded through the Affordable Housing Fund and will have no impact on the 2024 levy. Future capital costs will be built into Grey County’s capital budget. It is estimated around $95,000 in additional investment will be needed in the next 10 years. Initial property upgrades will be funded through the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiatives.
For more information about the Grey County short-term emergency shelter program visit www.grey.ca.
For media inquiries contact Rob Hatten, communications manager, at rob.hatten [at] grey.ca (rob[dot]hatten[at]grey[dot]ca) or call 519-373-1592.