Downtown Mission worrying about capacity under new stay-at-home order
WINDSOR, ONT -- The mild weather this January is helping keep capacity concerns down at the Downtown Mission where hundreds of people pass through each day.
Since winter began, officials there say they've been able to accommodate those less fortunate.
However, concerns are growing about daytime needs, with the new stay at home orders in effect at night.
“When you’re surviving on the street, the pandemic becomes less urgent to you. You know? Surviving today is more important than not catching Covid tomorrow. And I can’t be any blunter than that. It’s probably not how people want us to think about it but it's just reality,” said Downtown Mission Executive Director Ron Dunn who fears a covid-19 outbreak is imminent while those without a home navigate the stay-at-home order.
“We know that it's a matter of time, right? When you’re seeing 200 people come through here 3 times a day, the odds are not in our favour,” said Dunn.
Since the covid-19 pandemic began, the downtown mission has only seen three positive cases thanks to following the rules, according to Dunn.
Don Bennett considers himself lucky having been off the streets for nearly a year now.
“It’s a struggle, right? When you’re homeless you don’t know whether you’re coming or going and I just thank God that the mission gave me help.”
The Windsor man says he was homeless for eight months leading up to the pandemic, and was able to get to get back on his feet thanks to the mission, a place he still goes to offer friends support.
“I don’t know how they do it because I couldn’t do it.”
Dunn says the biggest obstacle remains a lack of affordable housing.
He “assumes” law enforcement won’t be an issue for those less fortunate telling CTVNews the big concern is physical distancing when winter sinks in.
“We have a total of 75 people who can be in the building at one time but we’re serving almost 200 meals 3 times a day so we’re still doing about 600 meals,” said Dunn.
“It’s a problem for people’s mental health, it's a problem for frostbite and not to mention obviously the pandemic!”