Why Sleeping Cabins?

The concept of building a sleeping cabin community was initiated at the Belle Park Encampment Summer 2020. Some people felt smaller spaces would help them stay safe, and give them a place to keep their belongings secure while they attend their daily needs. They are simple enough for people transitioning from homelessness to take care of, without over burdening residents with complexities. The cabins being used at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour are 8' x 12', fully insulated and wired with four 20 amp receptacles, an indoor light, an outdoor light, a heater, an air exchanger and tamper proof smoke / co2 detector. Having their own door means residents can come and go on their own schedules, without worrying about disturbing someone who might be on a different schedule.

The cabins for the Sleeping Cabin Pilot Project were manufactured by Modular Energy Solution in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and have already proven themselves in northern climate and arctic installations. Our residents are cozy despite POH's notorious chilly winds. Here's a Technical Sheet about our cabins.

Album of EHT cabin pictures.

What are the costs?

The average cost of a cabin was $20,156.38 including tax and delivery, generous donors provided $250,000 towards the cost of the cabins reducing the average cost per cabin to $7,656.38.

In 2022, OLS received $201,459 from the Social Services Relief Fund 3, a provincial fund, OLS's financials for 2022 are available here. In 2023, OLS received $328,400 from the Housing Accelorator Fund, a provincial fund. 

Residents pay rent to stay in the cabins which supports OLS's operations. Those with social assistance pay their shelter allowance ($390 for OW, $556 for ODSP), those with other forms of income pay up to 30% of their monthly income.

Who's paying for the Sleeping Cabin Pilot Project?

To fund the entire pilot project, $150,000 came from a donation to the City of Kingston from the Vuorinen Estate, another $100,000 was generously donated by Judith Gould in honour of her husband William Shine. In 2022, OLS received $201,459 from the Social Services Relief Fund 3, a provincial fund, OLS's financials for 2022 are available here. In 2023, OLS received $328,400 from the Housing Accelorator Fund, a provincial fund. 

What about food?

Residents are responsible for their own food and cooking their own meals. OLS helps coordinate orders from local food banks and food pantries, and assist with grocery orders. As with what we see in encampments, and in permanent housing, there is sharing of food and of cooking responsibilities between the residents. OLS staff are onsite to assist with cooking skills as needed. We enjoy it when community members assist with special meals and cooking lessons.

Why no bathrooms?

The sleeping cabin community has shared bathrooms and showers, like in a campground, movie theatre, congregate living centre or your own home. This allows residents to focus on what matters, acquiring permanent housing, without being burdened with the extra responsibilities of maintaining their own bathrooms. Residents at the cabin community assist in keeping the common facilities clean.

What rules do residents have to follow?

The traditional shelter and support systems create dependancies, people are told what / when they can eat, when they have to sleep, when they have to head back outside for the day. We aim to encourage independance to increase the likelihood of success in permanent housing by giving residents as much agency and responsibility as they can manage, while balancing the needs of our whole community. Our residents are responsible for their own food needs, for cleaning their own cabin and working on barriers which may prevent them from permanent housing. What we find is as residents embrace the cabin community, they pitch in to help other residents and our staff. OLS also offers resident employment opportunities and enables residents to participate in all staff courses and workshops. Our policies can be found here.

How will you ensure that residents stay warm when POH is so cold and windy?

Our cabins are an energy efficient passive design, it takes very little energy to keep the cabins warm.  Our cabins have been tested in northern and arctic climates. All cabins will have fire safe heaters installed. Here's a Technical Sheet about our cabins.

What happens at the end of the pilot project?

Initially called the POH pilot project which ended April 30th, 2022, the City of Kingston has continued to provide extensions for the Sleeping Cabin Pilot Project. As the cabin community concept has proven successful, we are looking for a permanent location to call home