Bridge House offers transitional housing for up to six men who have just been released from incarceration.
Built in 1889, Bridge House sits at 319 Barton St. E., a block east of Victoria. It has been renovated and expanded many times over the years, and we are hoping to renovate again in the next few years.
The house has three stories and an unfinished basement where we provide laundry facilities for our clients. The first floor is occupied by offices and common areas. There are two offices, a storage room, a kitchen and three meeting rooms. The second and third floor each have three bedrooms for clients, and a shared bathroom and kitchen. The second floor has additional common space, and a veranda.
Residents of Bridge House are men who have just been released from incarceration, most commonly from the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. Most of our residents have been incarcerated on charges involving a penalty of under two years. Our residents are screened by our Discharge Planner and Executive Director to preclude men who would present a danger to the community, and to use our limited resources to help those who are the most interested in changing their lives.
Is it a Halfway House then?
No, Bridge House is not a halfway house. Halfway houses are extensions of the federal corrections system. These facilities are for Federal parolees who have been conditionally released. As such, residents are still under the authority of Corrections Canada, and a breach of rules can result in their return to a federal prison to complete their sentence.
In contrast, inmates released from the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, or other provincial institutions, not have legal requirements around residency. They are left to their own devices to find whatever housing they are able to. Bridge House is a starting point, a place where they can start looking for other housing, as well as rebuild other aspects of their lives.