Norfolk OPP opens extended service office in the heart of Simcoe

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Insp.  Jodi Kays, Detachment Commander, Norfolk OPP, tours the new extended duty office located in the Indwell - Dogwood Suites Supported Housing Initiative in downtown Simcoe.  She was joined by Staff Sgt.  Jeff McNorgan (foreground) and community mobilizer Jason Eberley.  Submitted
Insp. Jodi Kays, Detachment Commander, Norfolk OPP, tours the new extended duty office located in the Indwell – Dogwood Suites Supported Housing Initiative in downtown Simcoe. She was joined by Staff Sgt. Jeff McNorgan (foreground) and community mobilizer Jason Eberley. Submitted jpg, BR

SIMCOE A supportive housing project in downtown Simcoe has a new partner.

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Norfolk OPP has opened an extended service office in Indwell – Dogwood Suites at 41 Norfolk St. S.

“The space not only provides officers the opportunity to support residents and staff on the premises, but also to remain centralized, visible and connected to merchants, shoppers and residents who call downtown their home,” said Insp . Jodi Kays, detachment commander for Norfolk OPP. “I would like to thank Indwell for including the OPP from its inception and the planning phase of Dogwood Suites.

“Our officers look forward to continuing to serve the people of Norfolk.”

Operated by Indwell, a Hamilton-based Christian charity, Dogwood Suites is a 51-unit supportive housing complex serving people with mental health issues, physical disabilities and/or addictions. The housing initiative held its grand opening in July and the OPP opened its extended duty office earlier this week.

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The office is not staffed. In the event of an emergency or crime in progress, residents should call 911. For non-emergency matters, residents are asked to call 1-888-310-1122.

Cam Carter, chairman of the Downtown Simcoe BIA board, said the board was pleased to see the police maintaining a presence in the town centre.

Noting that officers have used space in the BIA office for years, Carter said, “…We are very pleased with what Indwell has done with the building and that the OPP will be there. present.

“We have a homelessness problem downtown and the people Indwell serves are getting the help they need. So everything is positive.

Carter’s clothing store is located directly across from the Dogwood Suites.

He said he remembered well when the building – the former Norfolk Inn – was used as a makeshift home. The building’s windows were regularly smashed, he said, adding that Norfolk paramedics were also regular visitors.

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Community leaders, including the BIA and Norfolk County, approached Indwell to see what could be done with the old inn.

When Indwell bought the building in 2018, around 50 people lived there.

Indwell spent several months relocating occupants before embarking on a major renovation that included the addition of a third floor.

The building now features a mix of one-bedroom units, studios and barrier-free units that include kitchenettes and air conditioning. The building also has community and meeting rooms and laundry facilities.

Many companies and organizations and several levels of government have contributed to the $12 million project.

Program staff are on hand to support residents and provide community activities.

Indwell provides housing to over 800 tenants across Ontario, including Hamilton, St. Thomas, Waterloo, London and Chatham-Kent. It also operates a 40-unit building at Hambleton Hall in Simcoe, which opened in 2016.

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