Cabins Proposed to Help Homelessness

There has been a lot of talk recently about homelessness and affordable housing and citizens are trying to find ways to help.  The Northumberland Sleeping Cabins Collective has announced that they are hoping to raise enough money to build 6 cabins to accommodate perhaps 10-12 individuals.  Not all details are available nor problems solved but the immediate goal is to raise the money to provide a better solution for some homeless people.  A cabin can be built for $5000 although that’s just sleeping quarters – more detail is provided below.  Kitchen and washroom facilities would be provided with separate buildings and shared.  It is hoped to find a location in each of Port Hope and Cobourg although so far there is no success in that regard.

Proposed Cabin
Proposed Cabin

Few of the difficult details have been provided on the group’s facebook page but it would seem that as a minimum an electricity connection would be required although even without that, a cabin would be better than the tents many homeless people currently use.

The target of the fundraising campaign is “$55,000 needed for the initial cabins and washroom trailer”. However, the total capital campaign for 12 cabins and accompanying trailers is $135,000.

The organizers say that four cabins can be built in two days but the target date is the end of January 2023 “once sites are confirmed in Cobourg and/or Port Hope”.  The collective calls their effort “an emergency response to Cobourg and Port Hope’s homelessness crisis”.  The cost is being kept low because work will be by volunteers or donated.

But the graphic below tells a good part of the story.

Cabin costs
Cabin costs

In the two months since the collective announced that it would build 10 to 12 tiny (8 X 10 ft.) heated sleeping cabins, they are pleased with the community’s response – you can get an idea of this by visiting their facebook page here. As well as cash, organizations have donated things like building materials (at cost by Gilmer’s Home Hardware), mattresses (Showtime TV and Stereo) and the washroom trailer (at cost by Buildx).

The biggest outstanding issue is where to put the cabins – the only public statement from Cobourg Council was when future usage of the parking lot for the Memorial Arena was being discussed in September 2022.  One option to be considered was to use part of it to accommodate “tiny homes”. A group of cabins in one location seems necessary to allow a communal washroom and kitchen.

Although not everyone is convinced, the Northumberland Collective point to a success story at “A Better Tent City, Waterloo Cabin Collective”.

Green Wood Coalition, a registered charity, will accept donations on the Collective’s behalf (via Canada Helps) and issue tax receipts – go here.

Addendum – 21 Dec 4:50 pm

If you are interested in this subject, you should know that it came before Council on their meeting Monday 19 Feb.  See my report here.

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Wally Keeler
8 January 2023 9:19 am

A very interesting video on ‘affordable housing’ by a real estate agent. Canadian housing will never be affordable – here’s why:

29 December 2022 9:34 am

By the time anything happens in this town the need will have passed Just like winter .

22 December 2022 10:01 am

I don’t know why all the opposition is getting their collective knickers in a twist for. If one looks at Mayor Cleveland’s video (JD has provided a link) this project has now been placed into the planning “never-never land” Being subject to review “by all of the necessary processes that any developer would be subject to.” I paraphrase but you get the gist.

Come back in the summertime when you might see a report and then start complaining again for next winter.

Meanwhile the question of what to do with the attendent problems of the homeless has been pushed back to the County, yet again. And we know what they are doing – not much!

Reply to  ben
22 December 2022 1:11 pm

Well I guess its because on the Peterborough news today the Cabin Organizers are gleefully saying the Cobourg Council is working with them, and they plan to have the Cabins up and running by Jan. 31, 2023 at the Memorial Arena. Given the Mayor’s video clip kept repeating over again several times “nothing has been agreed to” causes me to be sceptical of what Mayor Cleveland is saying about a decision being several months away because of red tape etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Just a thought
Reply to  ben
22 December 2022 2:46 pm

I hope this group is treated the same as other developments. That would mean a re-zoning. Lucas tried to push for a timeline but didn’t get one in the meeting from our Planning Dept. probably because many in the gallery wouldn’t like the answer.

If treated like a regular project they would be looking at AT LEAST a year before they can do anything.

They will need to be subjected to public meetings, have separate consultant reports for: stormwater, lighting, environment, noise, vibration, traffic, landscaping, a site plan and a topographic map – minimally. That’s a year and +/- $100,000.

Miriam was correct and kind in her willingness to point out that this is not sustainable.

21 December 2022 11:21 am

Every day there are requests to donate to this or that project or cause! I cannot financially or intellectually contribute to the Tiny Cabins. Although an outstanding concept, there are just too many unknown factors that have not been disclosed or approved to be in effect after the initial set-up of these structures in some parking lot- as have so aptly been stated below.

21 December 2022 9:42 am

I said it before They could have all been placed inside the Old Arena
Wash Rooms already in place Hydro & water as well Canteen Kitchen
with roof inplace just build the rooms on the Concrete floor or roll in the
Tiny Cabins
But No Council gives it away to a bunch of Old Guys with a hobby

Pete M
20 December 2022 11:48 am

After reading all the comments, I really wonder if we as a society have failed to learn from our past and have now circled back to the late 1800’s , early 1900 ‘ s of the County Houses of refuge.
Here is an article from the Toronto Star from 2009

20 December 2022 3:44 am

Whole cabin for $5,000.00? Aren’t these around the same size as our $12,000.00 (plus), lifeguard shacks?

Reply to  Frenchy
21 December 2022 9:35 am

and the same price as the Tool shed Kits from HomeDepo for around $1500.–

19 December 2022 4:55 pm

It would seem based on comments and ideas that buying and or using previous ly used “institutions” is a potential solution. When you add in all the services needed to go along with it are we not describing what was once know as ‘Ontario Hospitals”? I remember all the self appointed guardians then chanting that the community can take care of all these institutionalized poor people. What an obvious failure that has been. I do not hear a special interest group protesting people with severe cognitive disabilities being locked in special wings of our chronic care facilities. Perhaps there is a need for “Ontario Hospitals” with an updated operating criteria.

Keith Oliver
19 December 2022 12:53 pm

The issue of housing the homeless and giving them a hand-up has dragged on forever, to our collective disgrace. Despite the good intentions of those making the decisions, it’s always treated as someonelses’ problem with a quick fix that never happens. COVID is one factor, but regardless, the numbers and cost of homelessness to society in general, keeps growing. The challenge is to find a quick fix that makes sense, (with a deadline), followed by a permanent fix that makes sense (with a deadline). The tiny cabin solution is to build a better tent. At 80 square feet (sf) and as a standalone bedroom, they will not work! Their winter per sf heating cost will be double that of a 30×40 sf house. Their summer cooling is non-existent and their occupants will be back to rough-camping. In the tiny-cabin solution, where exactly is the kitchen, bathroom, a place to secure a bike or wheel chair, personal belongings if the occupants’ circumstances are temporary? What are the operational costs including designated staff? Who gets to choose the occupants? What kind of councelling and job placement services are available and how accessible are they? How accessible is public transportation, food purchases, etc? As proposed by others, a quick, temporary fix could be the accommodations used to house 50 or more offenders at the now closed Brookside Detention Centre and/or the existing Golden Plough Lodge (which will be available at a later date.) The failed state this issue is in, testifies to a lack of leadership including the failure to bring together those whose accute self-interest is involved. Like women dealing with womens’ issues, or minorities dealing with their issues, the homeless should be involved. Tiny cabins and their prospect of creating a disfunctional shanty town (as cited by others), is not the… Read more »

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Keith Oliver
19 December 2022 8:10 pm

In addition, as a practical alternative to separate tiny-cabins, combine 12 8×10 spaces into a single structure, 20′ wide by 48 ft long. (20 ft is an economic span for a roof truss.)

Divide the interior to the 12 spaces with prefabricated 4 ft by 8 ft removable panels. Each 8×10 space has a door and window on its’ 8 ft long exterior wall. 10 are bedrooms while one is a kitchen and the other equipped with laundry, shower-bath, sink and toilet.

When permanent housing is available, the residents move out and the removable panels reused to reconfigured the interior into rooms that turn the structures to a small home which is then sold for market price or becomes part of the Habitat for Humanity inventory.

The format of one single structure instead of 12 individual tiny-cabins results in an efficient use of energy in heating and cooling, availability of minimal personal services, no waste and, in the end, a much more efficient use of available resources!

Just one alternative to the impractical and wasteful concept of separate tiny-cabins.

Last edited 1 month ago by Keith Oliver
Reply to  Keith Oliver
20 December 2022 12:01 pm

Keith – a concern would be the spread of respiratory illness in a structure that is without self containment of units. Toronto built such – read they were a failure – before building one should study past projects to see if they worked. It would also create a lot of mixing of clients with diverse problems. Besides this is supposed to be temporary – sounds like what you propose would be a permanent fixture.

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
19 December 2022 11:47 pm

I agree Keith. A dormitory model makes sense. A building or structure with a common kitchen/ living/tv room with 4 or 5 rooms off it. Each room with a bed and small washroom. This building can be 2 or three stories in height.

Again this only works with a strong intensive support system in place to ensure they dont become drug dens of hopelessness

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Pete M
20 December 2022 5:11 am

Pete M

Only problem with your proposal is that it’s more than temporary bedroom housing. I’m referring to washroom in each bedroom and the two storey height. The tiny-cabin proposal (which I disagree with)and the cluster concept I’ve put forward, are both built with 4×8 material, possibly pre-fabricated off site, requiring nothing more than a step ladder. Challenge is to keep things as simple as possible, involve volunteers as much as possible.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
20 December 2022 9:03 am

You are not wrong. The biggest issue is not where to place the tiny homes, it is the gratuitous lack of leadership, absence and funding of peripheral supports and wrap around support/services. If these were possible and present, they would be available today and the issues lessened now. The good intentioned Tiny Home group are addressing the least significant issue but most visible concern. I’m curious to know, who is going to provide oversight, daily supervision, ensure cleanliness and maintenance of basic hygienic conditions in personal living and common spaces, ensure substance use/abuse/dealing isn’t taking place, police squatters and others from moving in/sharing accommodation, support for job seekers, etc… Good intentions, ripe with problems. If your aren’t sure about how this can get out of hand, read about the vaults of Edinburgh.

I’m also curious to know, how those residents living in the area might feel about this – those with small children, those who are also in recovery themselves, those wanting to list and sell their homes this spring/summer…

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Reply to  Keith Oliver
20 December 2022 11:43 am

Keith, Rob, PeteM and concerned citizens,

It is all well and fine that Cobourgers are concerned for the well being of the Town’s less fortunate. We should look after our own.

Mass solutions like using the GPL, refurbishing Brookside or building a “tiny home” enclave only serves to aggravate the problem. Instead of tending to the needs of a dozen or so, solutions like these will attract more of those in need and a dozen becomes 25, 50, 100.

As Kyle noted “build it and they will come”.

These are band-aids and do not address the real issue.
As JimT noted “The first step in solving a problem is to define the problem.”

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
20 December 2022 12:38 pm

If was only just a dozen or so people…
I have watched this issue grow and morphed into what it is now.
20 yrs ago the Salvation Army had a community resource centre on Swayne Street. There they would help those in need of shelter or hot meal. A voucher would be issued for a motel room for a couple of nights or a meal. After hours the person could go to the police station for a voucher.
Then came Transition House and we all know what this has morphed into.
Then the police Chief made the decision to modify the front lobby of the police station into a warming room with communal shower and toilet.
Then came COVID and the use of CCI gym and facilities as a temporary shelter.
Then the St Peters initiative .
And now Tiny sleeping cabins.
So we have been building it- incrementally. They ve come and continue to come.
The problem has been identified, homelessness, due to drug dependency, mental illness and a lack of life skills.

The challenge is how to treat the drugs and mental illness in the community without institutionalizing people.

Reply to  Bryan
20 December 2022 9:07 pm

I agree 100%. Once the word is out than the problems here will be be 5 fold in my opinion. Everyone seems to have a phone and many are only 1 text away. I hope there is a screening process that identifies people that want to be helped…abide by the law and take advantage of services offered to help them move on to a better life.

Pete M
Reply to  Informed
20 December 2022 10:39 pm

Screening process…abide by the law? Really? What are u looking for? A person with a minimum of a high school diploma, clean of drugs for 3 months and actively seeking gainful employment?

These cabins are to provide shelter to the those who struggle to function with in society norms and its expectations of personal responsibility.

This is program is to ensure a person doesn’t freeze to death while living on the streets.

Reply to  Pete M
21 December 2022 4:01 pm

I never mentioned any of the conditions you did however I live in the real world. 12 cabins for maybe 50 people. Let’s screen for drug addicts, thieves and violent people. You’ll find those as well. Should we start there?

Pete M
Reply to  Informed
21 December 2022 4:42 pm

Again, The people these cabins are for are the ones that are living on the streets. Because they suffer from drug/substance addictions. I dont think you will find one that hasn’t had some sort of interaction with police and the courts for thefts assaults etc.
So I will ask if they have any of the above, I named, does it exclude them from access to cabin and possible life saving shelter??

Reply to  Pete M
21 December 2022 9:58 pm

First come, first served then? Lottery? No preconditions? There are 12 cabins for probably 30 people to start with. Who gets them?

Pete M
Reply to  Informed
22 December 2022 7:39 am

It will probably be first come first serve.
And unfortunately the demand exceeds supply of Cabins.
This wil mean the group will return to council for approval of more cabins another site.
This program is a treat the symptom but not the disease.
These people need intense care- drug treatment with mental health treatment and life skills training.
These people are a product of broken families, broken school system, a change in jobs and what skill set is required.
This creates and feeds in to the hopelessness that so many of these people are experiencing.
So until we have a comprehensive treatment program…be prepared for more cabins, and soup lines.

Dave Chomitz
18 December 2022 10:45 pm

I have no idea what the right solution is. But I’m not sure this is it. I understand there will a delegation at council on Monday asking for town support and land. I read the delegations report for council (37 pages) and there are a number of questions. However what struck me most was there are 12 cabins for 12 people. Couples will occupy 2 cabins. So max benefit is 12 people for six months estimated cost 160k plus hydro, plumbing etc (install, removal and use) ……. Plus management ….

Reply to  Dave Chomitz
19 December 2022 8:17 am

Dave, after reading your comment I re-read the post above. Initially the goal is for 6 cabins to accommodate 10-12 people. It seems that most cabins will have 2 people. Eventually there could be 12 cabins (about 20 people?). Hopefully the cabins will last longer than 6 months. You made an important point about other costs (hydro, plumbing, garbage removal). Some of the management/maintenance can be done by volunteers but this needs to be carefully organized. As a temporary location why not the “parking lot” at 2nd and Albert? The town has/had a lease to use the property as a parking lot. There was a construction trailer there last year with an electrical service. It is just across the road from public washrooms. But there are already issues at the washrooms and this idea will not be good for skaters using the Frink. Maybe Nicole Beatty, who wanted to allow tents, will have something to say about possible locations.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kevin
19 December 2022 9:05 am

There has been no mention of the costs of disposal of these shacks when warmer weather comes. Kevin suggested that they might last longer than 6 months. Allowing a permanent shantytown anywhere in Cobourg (the apparent desire of the proponents) is even worse than a temporary one!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Dave Chomitz
Reply to  Kevin
19 December 2022 11:14 am

Kevin – I agree the post above says that – but the “Cobourg Delegation Final Report” submitted to the town and attached to the meeting agenda states clearly – 1. “the land will need to be a fenced area of approximately 4500 sq ft to accommodate 12 cabins plus supporting shared washroom and kitchen ….” (page 17) and 2. ” Note that while a cabin accommodates only one person, a couple could occupy two cabins in a village ….” (page 9) – Personally I believe the Village Council concept described on page 13 is expecting a lot as well. I’m not trying to be negative. But I’m there are parts of this proposal I would question.

18 December 2022 6:55 pm

Since this entire process is under the purview of the Country, and I don’t see any references to that fact, what are their recommendations, supportive-funding? I for sure would like the Mayor to tell us why Cobourg is on the hook for this activity. Sounds like these ‘little house’ communities will have to have supportive administration, infrastructure, policing, medical. Effectively a community within a community. I get there is an opportunity to assist but do the proposed residents have the capability/capacity to accepted/engage with the opportunity.

18 December 2022 3:52 pm

I have read all the comments about the homelessness issue in this forum and the main theme seems to be that yes of course we are all wanting to help these poor unfortunate people and I certainly agree with this. Many things have been tried over the past few years, but the numbers of people sleeping “outdoors” is increasing exponentially. Transition House, St. Peter’s warming centre, renting hotel rooms, using the downtown bus shelter, public library and police station are all temporary solutions, but they do not get to the root of the problem and are not permanent “cures”. The first two posts on this forum (from Dave and DKC on Dec. 16th and 17th respectively) were really informative for me. Both are (or have been) mental health professionals and have worked with the homeless and the formerly incarcerated. Both point to the need for “treatment” in conjunction with “housing”. I was thinking about where this treatment could take place. What about the Palliative Care wing at the Northumberland Hills Hospital? Is this still needed, now that we have Ed’s House, a full-service palliative care hospital? Could the Palliative Care wing of the hospital be made into a drug and mental health intake centre that would be funded by the province? It could have a separate entrance, be a “safe injection site” and be staffed by medical/mental health professionals. If more specialized care for an individual was needed, then they could be transferred to a larger facility — there’s even a heliport on site! I realize that this would be costly — but the “housing” measures we’ve tried so far don’t seem to be working and are very costly as well. Without “treatment”, these poor people don’t really stand a chance of climbing out of the drug dependency/loss of income/poverty… Read more »

Reply to  Scottie
18 December 2022 4:28 pm

Well put. However, individuals in need of such services must be willing to participate and comply with recommendations if progress is to be realized.

Pete M
Reply to  Scottie
19 December 2022 5:50 pm

I agree Scottie a lot of money and time and effort put in to treat the symptoms. Until the cause is rectified— drug addiction, mental health issues, education and life skills- the disease of homelessness will grow.
It is time for a holistic approach is needed.
This is where a re-envisioned Brookside facility could be employed.

A centre that deals with the drug addiction that moves an individual thru a long term mental wellness/.counseling program to support an end to the drug dependency and beginnings of a healthy self image and being.
While learning life skills- masonry , carpentry, computer skills

A program that has support /accountability to ensure the individuals continued success upon leaving the facility/ program.

With a that being said the key to success is that the person has to want it and is committed to it.

Too many don t want to make that commitment and put in that effort.

To many a summer time of rough urban camping means no responsibilities, no 9 -5 and reporting to an employer. A time to chase the next high. A group who have decided to turn on, tune in, drop out”to quote Leary.

Its admirable what the haves of society are trying to do – impose their belief of what the dont haves need. But you need to have acceptance by the individuals your trying to “help”.
Unfortunately you dont. You have too many who want free stuff without a commitment to change.

Ken Strauss
18 December 2022 12:48 pm

I’m confused by the finances and intentions of this project.

The project is to have capital costs of $135,000, will have 12 cabins and is targeted for occupancy at the end of January 2023. Much of the worst of winter is past by the end of January so spending $11,250 for perhaps two month’s usage of a tiny cabin seems rather expensive. It is more than two month’s rental at the Best Western! Is the intent to establish a permanent shantytown in Cobourg?

There appears to be no allowance for the costs of heating, electricity, water, sewerage and garbage disposal. How will that be funded?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 December 2022 1:37 pm


Good points.
As has been noted by others, motel rooms are available for the homeless, but some people have been banned for “breaking the rules”. Will these “rule breakers be allowed to use the cabins?

Others have noted that some of the homeless are not able to care for themselves and need help (medical/mental/food). Will help be available at the cabins? From whom?

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
19 December 2022 11:11 pm

No Bryan, the rule breakers will not not be banned. There are no third parties/owners/motel that need to be placated. Rule breakers in this model are misunderstood individuals who lack certain social coping skills. The individuals supervising this new model believe that this should not prevent individuals from receiving or accessing the care they so desperately need.

Ryan this is an industry cloaked in the cloth of altruistic ideals.

Their stated goal is to end homelessness, Yet homelessness is increasing as are the government support programs that are to end the problem.

These programs allow for well meaning people, who want to feel that they are contributing to society and making change; by helping the under privileged.

It gives them the feeling of self worth and value while having questionable success in eliminating the problem they pledged themselves to

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
19 December 2022 11:24 pm

This nothing more of “just throw more money” at the problem. Treat the symptoms and not the disease.
What metrics are there to measure the success or failure?
As I see it people who build the cabins make money…
The people who.oversee and deliver the program make money thru the govt grants they receive- they’re not doing this for free or out of the goodness of their hearts.

It determined the program was a success and more cabins needed.This will increase a need for more bureaucracy- storage, maintenance , transport to and from sites etc.

So the question is…who are the true benefactors- the person/.agency delivering ( the new industry) or the cabin user?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
20 December 2022 8:44 am

Well said, PeteM, everybody benefits. Even Cobourg’s moribund Economic Development Department benefits. They will brag that they brought a growth industry — building a shantytown for Ontario’s homeless — to Cobourg.

17 December 2022 6:43 pm

Just talk to your RICH Politicians on charge of Ontario and Canada about money for the homeless after all they gave away Millions to the natives right.,,……….and other countries.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Arthur
17 December 2022 10:21 pm

Arthur, the Feds are wasting $40B (not Millions but Billions of dollars) on a single settlement relating to child welfare ( That is over $1,000 from every man, woman and child in Canada. $40B would go quite a ways to provide housing for the less fortunate!

Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 December 2022 3:57 pm

I guess if the government tried to eradicate you that would be OK 🤔

17 December 2022 5:21 pm

How about the Columbus Hall or the Lions Centre. Plenty of space, washrooms, and kitchens. These are organization whose purpose is to ‘do good’ in our communities. They have lots of volunteers and experience putting on events.

Christopher Foster
Reply to  Cobourger-1
18 December 2022 2:18 am

How about in your backyard.

17 December 2022 12:43 pm

It is my understanding that Transition House also rents rooms in local motels. These rooms have bathrooms and possibly microwaves and/or other kitchen facilities. It is not the number of rooms that was the problem. The problem was people not wanting to follow the rules. Surely there will be some rules with these cabins. Last month I was talking to somebody who quickly moved up to $23/hr at a local factory. He told me they are hiring and it is easy to do with a little intelligence. No doubt he also shows up for his shifts on time. These cabins might be a good idea for some people but it will not work for those who will not follow rules.

17 December 2022 11:44 am

Helping people in need always gets bashed by the NIMBY fogies in the Feel Good Town. Not everyone who is homeless is an addict. Not every addict is homeless. Look over your fence from your million dollar home ; you might be surprised what your ” well to do ” neighbours are up to! Cabins look better than tents and it is one step closer to proper housing.

Reply to  Beachwalker
17 December 2022 2:26 pm

NIMBY fogies are bad? Maybe they should build the shantytown in YOUR backyard instead of MY backyard, Beachwalker.

Reply to  Dubious
17 December 2022 4:21 pm

What’s a NIMBY?

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Tucker
17 December 2022 4:42 pm

not in my back yard

Beach walker
Reply to  Dubious
18 December 2022 9:08 am

I have no problem with that.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Beach walker
18 December 2022 9:58 am

Beach Walker, have you offered your backyard to the Northumberland Sleeping Cabins Collective? I suspect that they would happily accept your offer; your NIMBY neighbours might be less happy…

Pete M
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 December 2022 11:29 am

Careful Ken with the suggestion of hosting a cabin in your backyard. The program managers might key on that and offer $1000 a month for hosting and the next thing these cabins are popping up in peoples backyards. Remember changes to zoning by laws for coach houses-a sleeping cabin can easily identify itself as a coach house.
An Air BnB of sleeping cabins in Cobourg, with online reviews.
Reviews of who had the best bedding, heaters, cleanliness, who offers breakfast in the morning and so on…

17 December 2022 10:34 am

I haven’t thought this through thoroughly but I don’t think the plan for wee houses has been thoroughly thought through either but I still don’t know why the Golden Plough cannot become a shelter…it is well located…has rooms…kitchen…bathrooms…close to the hospital for any
emergencies…it could even have a resident ‘nurse’ to identify anyone in medical or mental crisis
I’m sure there will be people who will pick holes in this idea but it must be awful to be out in the cold when you’ve done nothing wrong. If the people who need housing could have an address…facilities to bathe and wash their clothes maybe they could get a job…there are signs all over town saying ’Hiring’…?

Reply to  Twopenniesworth
17 December 2022 10:58 am

Thank you. You are endorsing the proposal I made here over two years ago about using GPL for housing instead of spending the huge amount required to knock it down and cart it all away.

5 September 2020 2:17 pm
“And yet the County is going to tear down a perfectly functioning facility at Golden Plough Lodge…Perfect for a fast conversion to housing units for those without homes…”

I have yet to hear a cogent argument why this cannot or should not be done.

(If they must demolish GPL, can they at least use the resulting mountain of concrete debris to reinforce the pier at the harbour, they way they are rumoured to have done with the old post office, years ago?)

Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Bill Thompson
Reply to  JimT
17 December 2022 11:37 am

I understand when it is demolished that the area will be turned into a parking lot!
Priorities !

Reply to  Bill Thompson
17 December 2022 12:46 pm

Will the new parking lot be a suitable place to park some of the new cabins? Keeping the existing GP seems to be a much better idea. Maybe demolish part of it for parking and keep part of it for housing.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Kevin
17 December 2022 2:45 pm

I believe that it is to be solely a parking lot and considering security would be paramount I wouldn’t think that partial “housing” would be a smart idea.Just my opinion.

Reply to  Kevin
17 December 2022 2:48 pm

No need to demolish anything. It already has 2 parking lots – staff parking for about 65 vehicles and visitor parking for about 30 more. GPL is rather like 4 linked multi-level apartment buildings plus a large auditorium and offices, lounge areas, dining rooms for residents and more.

All fully serviced and up-to-date.

Too good to just demolish when we have such an obvious need for basic housing, in my opinion.

Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Reply to  JimT
17 December 2022 11:54 am

Why not ask the new mayor to ask this question as he will be at county council

Reply to  JimT
17 December 2022 12:04 pm

This is the best idea. It seems everything needed is there. Demolishing a perfectly adaptable building is ridiculous. Let us use what we have to do some good.

Reply to  JimT
18 December 2022 11:22 am

I know that the GPL is huge, but why can’t they keep a portion of the building for the homeless. Perhaps some kind of an arrangement could be made with the government to retain a small portion of the existing building? Has anyone tried this avenue?

Reply to  Liz
18 December 2022 12:44 pm


some kind of an arrangement could be made with the government”? The County owns the GPL. Who are you suggesting makes an “arrangement” with the government (County??), the Town?

Homelessness and housing is the County’s responsibility. The County owns the GPL. So the County should negotiate with itself regarding the use of the GPL as a homeless solution?

Others have suggested that Mayor Cleveland, as the Town’s representative on County Council, should (with Council’s direction/approval) advocate for projects/solutions that benefit Cobourg’s residents.

I fully support that idea.

Reply to  Twopenniesworth
17 December 2022 3:33 pm

I agree, why build more housing when there is vacant buildings with facilities already. I have not seen the state of Brookside but until recently we had youth living there. Can we use some of the money to fix that facility? This could house many people.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  John Draper
19 December 2022 9:31 pm


The Ford Government is paying to heat/maintain the structures at Brookside. From what I’ve seen there is security on the site.

The need for housing is urgent and County wide support, political and monetary, is possible. Our MPP David Puccini is a cabinet minister. The facility could be leased from the government for a specified time. I believe 90 inmates were housed on the site at one time.

Theres’ been nothing but bad news for the Ford Government lately.

Respect your comments, but anything is worth a try, especially since it would bring all interested parties in the County together.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Twopenniesworth
19 December 2022 1:08 pm


Not sure if this is still happening but some time ago a downtown Toronto menswear store dressed individuals up before they went for a job interview and the success rate tripled.

17 December 2022 9:56 am

Use the trailer park! Town property, it has hydro, and washroom facilities!

Reply to  Bozy
17 December 2022 10:49 am

You’ve got to be kidding me ???????????

Reply to  Bozy
17 December 2022 11:35 am

Beautiful idea!!!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bozy
17 December 2022 1:37 pm

Plus the trailer park has free WiFi, is away from residential areas and has convenient access to the beach when the weather warms. Why not, Russ?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 December 2022 3:40 pm

Give me a break …. you’re living in a dream world !

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Russ
17 December 2022 4:05 pm

Russ, do you prefer Victoria Park over the trailer park? Why?

Andrew Allan
17 December 2022 8:43 am

Brookside school is sitting empty.
All the facilities you need in one place.
Plus it could also house new immigrants to Canada.
It would provide jobs in the area for staff and help businesses provide food ,clothing etc… to all that live on site.

Reply to  Andrew Allan
17 December 2022 8:54 am

OR the industrial park
Or outside of town

Reply to  Andrew Allan
17 December 2022 10:42 am

Brookside school?
Brookside Youth Centre: a prison
1 The Town doesn’t own Brookside
2 The County doesn’t own Brookside
3 It’s doubtful the facilities are suitable for habitation
4 Communal kitchen, washroom and shower facilities
5 Who’s staff? Who is the employer and who provides staff direction and supervision?
6 Who pays for the operating costs?
6 Who pays for the renovations ($$$$)?

I think you need to think this through a bit more.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
17 December 2022 10:51 am

Who pays to insure these places ????

Reply to  Andrew Allan
17 December 2022 12:07 pm

There are better long term uses for the Brookside property.

Pete M
Reply to  Abby
20 December 2022 11:35 am

What might those be?
Demolish buildings an turn into green space with trail. Or sell to developer for housing?
Or County and town take over for rent geared to income housing?
I would like to hear your ideas

Lemon Cake
17 December 2022 8:22 am

Are these suitable or large enough for families with children? Also if there are no supports for addiction or mental health issues, this is not going to work for anyone – the shared kitchen and bathroom facilities are particularly problematic if addicts or people in a mental health crisis are being offered these homes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lemon Cake
Reply to  Lemon Cake
17 December 2022 8:43 am

Sorry to say , this is a project doomed to fail !

Reply to  Lemon Cake
17 December 2022 11:00 am

This project isn’t intended to be the answer to everything for everybody, obviously. It’s designed to be a solution for certain individuals in certain situations.

Reply to  Lemon Cake
17 December 2022 12:11 pm

Unfortunately these units only house one person. You can bet there will be more than one using them. There is nothing for families. When I asked my questions as to who cleans , repairs these units I was given a very clipped response that these would be taken care of just as I take care of my property. Somehow I don’t believe that as these folks have bigger issues and as they have no financial investment there is no reason to take care of them. It also tells me that these are not temporary shelters but the plan is for them to be permanent. So this really needs to be well thought out and planned very carefully. When there are openings at transition house and people will not go there because there are rules I have a hard time considering this. I am not sure what the answer is

Cobourg citizen
16 December 2022 10:15 pm

Ok let’s face it Cobourg, we don’t have a “homeless” problem, we have a drug problem. There are many reasons why this is happening, not just in Cobourg, but in every town & city throughout our country. I certainly don’t have the answers, and no one wants to see individuals living rough at this time of year. However, if we allow a shanty town to be constructed in our community we will have much bigger problems than we do now.

Reply to  Cobourg citizen
18 December 2022 10:15 am

If you build it they will come!

Reply to  Cobourg citizen
18 December 2022 3:18 pm


“The first step in solving a problem is to define the problem.”

Old Sailor
16 December 2022 7:38 pm

How about putting these cabins next to our Councillors’ homes? Or do any of them live in Cobourg? We already have a 7-24 policing problem on Chapel St. with Transition House and now a new Homeless Centre at St. Peter’s Church a couple of blocks away. Is the goal to punish just one neighbourhood in Cobourg? Lets spread the grief……………

Reply to  Old Sailor
16 December 2022 8:29 pm

Reply to old sailor. Good idea. How long would it be before the councillor got them removed. Who will pay for the hydro and monitor these people who can’t even take care of themselves. Will these little houses be kept clean and will one end up burning down. Where to put the cabins is the big question ??????

Reply to  Old Sailor
17 December 2022 12:10 pm

Old Sailor, this is too serious an issue to be spewing more nonsense instead of contributing to a solution.

Pete M
Reply to  Old Sailor
20 December 2022 11:37 am

You left out the 24-7 policing problem at the transit shelter on Albert St.

16 December 2022 6:54 pm

Peterborough recently was to place these cabins I believe at Park Street. Residents stated, voted? against the project and it was cancelled.

No one likes to see people without but study of similar projects that went ahead in other large cities should first be examined. A couple of such tiny home projects were built in Toronto. After it was reported the neighbourhood began an escalated rate of break ins, discarded needles and feces in the street. Unless people are screened for ability to live independently this is a proposal doomed to failure. The realities of housing people in the throes of addiction and mental health issues should be thoroughly vetted before allowing this project. I no longer live in fairy land I hope our council doesn’t either.

Many years ago I was asked to run a halfway house for newly released inmates and people from the mental health system. I found they were severely lacking in basic life skills and unable to cope in life with basic tasks. Screening of any prospect is required for ability to live independently even is it is only in a small bleak cabin.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
Reply to  Dave
17 December 2022 11:47 am

DKC…Reply to Dave…

You are spot on in your assessment. I have plenty of experience having worked both as a social worker in a group home x 3 years in Toronto, as well as a psychiatric RN at CAMH and Ontario Shores for 35 years, (all front line experience). People in both facilities are not released into the community unless they have community backup in the form of a caseworker or counsellor who provides ongoing support and assistance based on a concrete plan involving proper housing, financial assistance, activity, assistance with job prospects or schooling and supportive programs for substance abuse and or, mental health diagnosis with the appropriate long term medications. For the latter, this would involve community checks and assessments by qualified community nurses designated for that role with the ability to recommend hospitalization should the persons progress or lack there of dictate more intense assistance.
The cabin idea, although well meaning is simply a substitute for tents. I can see a scenario where cabins are set up promoting others to set up alternative tents or some other form of rudimentary subsistence living. Be careful what you wish for. I am afraid that the homeless problem along with mental health and substance abuse issues will only escalate as they have in most other communities. I believe that our community should seriously consider developing our own mental health inpatient program at our hospital. It will take some time to accomplish this and the talk should start now.