Idea of tent city opposed by Downtown Mission
Several items on the ground in a wooded area near Crawford Avenue in Windsor, Ont., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. (Stefanie Masotti / CTV Windsor)
Not everyone supports the idea of a tent city in Windsor.
The idea was tabled during a special brainstorming session at city hall on Wednesday to deal with the growing problem of homelessness in Windsor.
The director of Street Help, Christine Wilson-Furlonger, and her staff shared the idea with representatives from the city, Windsor Police, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the Salvation Army, the Downtown Mission and the Canada Mental Health Association.
But the Mission’s Executive Director, Ron Dunn, says he is vehemently against a tent city.
“A tent city would be a fail,” says Dunn. “It's a failure on our mayor, on our council, on me as the executive director here and on every other social service agency and on our community.”
Dunn tells CTV News the homeless situation is affected by a lack of funding to key organizations, and he urges the city to find more money to help people in need.
Dunn adds they should be looking at other ways to help the homeless.
“Shame on us if we think a tent and a sleeping bag is the answer to people experiencing homelessness.”
The Downtown Mission is a Christian, faith-based, registered not-for-profit organization with a focus on serving and advocating for those who struggle with poverty and homelessness.
Officials say Wednesday’s meeting was prompted by an increased numbers of calls in the past month to the city about residents feeling uncomfortable about what they are witnessing -- from abandoned shopping carts, to drug abuse to petty property crimes.
Another meeting is tentatively scheduled for next week.
New information shared at last week’s meeting of the social development, health and culture standing committee revealed a homeless count in April found nearly 200 people living on city streets.
A lack of affordable housing was deemed the primary cause of homelessness in the city.
The city has a waiting list of more than 4,500 people looking for a home.
Stats also show an increase in occupancy rates at every shelter in Windsor.