WINDSOR, ONT. -- The City of Windsor is asking landlords and property owners who may have rental options available for tenants who were forced to vacate their apartment building last month to reach out.

City staff and community support agencies have been onsite at River Place Residence at 245 Detroit Street for several weeks after the building was deemed unsafe and residents were forced to vacate the building July 20.

While more than a dozen families have been successful in finding housing to suit their needs, the city is still in search of more options.

“Finding affordable, available rental properties continues to be a challenge in Windsor and Essex County. While there are tools available to support successful tenancies, the city and community agencies serving persons experiencing homelessness are constrained by the challenges of the limited housing supply,” a news release from the city says. “Landlords and property owners who may have rental options for residents of Detroit Street and the other 440 households who are currently experiencing homelessness in Windsor and Essex County, are asked to come forward.”

An Unsafe Order was issued July 8, 2021 at the apartment building due to the lack of life safety systems, working fire alarms, functioning heating and ventilation systems, and a potable water distribution system to the entire building. Residents were required to vacate the building when a Prohibition of Occupancy order went into effect on July 20.

City and agency staff have since spent hundreds of hours assessing the needs to residents and helping to facilitate permanent housing placements and directing them to the Homelessness and Housing Help Hub (H4) for further housing-search assistance and other services.

“Approximately 13 individuals are on site at 245 Detroit Street,” says Debbie Cercone, executive director of Housing, Homelessness and Children’s Services. “We are encouraged by the tireless efforts of city staff and the outreach workers.  It is our hope that those who remain will engage with the services available to help them find new accommodations and supports for daily living.”

Officials say they are encouraged by the number of residents who accepted assistance, and urge those remaining on site to access the H4 and local emergency shelters to address immediate needs to food and shelter.

The city says through the work of staff and agencies over the last few weeks have offered displaced residents safe alternatives, but a return to regular operations will take effect immediately “allowing workers to provide much needed assistance in other areas of Windsor and Essex County.”

Former River Place Residents as well as anyone else in need of additional assistance is encouraged to attend the H4 400 Wyandotte Street East, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

They can also attend one of the local emergency shelters in the community including:

  • Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families, 263 Bridge Ave. (519) 971-7595
  • Salvation Army (for single men), 355 Church Street 519) 253-7473
  • Downtown Mission (for single men, single women and families) 875 Ouellette Ave. (519) 973-5573

Landlords and property owners with available housing options are urged to call Housing Information Services at 519-254-4824.