Some Ouellette Manor residents concerned about new Downtown Mission location
The Downtown Mission has removed conditions on its purchase of the central library building and even though the charity isn't slated to move across the street for at least another year, residents of a nearby high rise are expressing fear about the change.
One resident who lives at Ouellette Manor is collecting signatures, demanding improvements to his building now, before the mission moves into the neighbourhood.
The problems at 920 Ouellette are well documented.
Even though its social housing geared for people who are older and operated by the Community Housing Corporation, the city intervened in 2012, promising to clean the building up and rid it of crime.
Residents tell CTV News it’s still bad and now they're worried the situation is only going to get worse.
“We want a security guard, at the door, 24-7,” says Doug Pitts, Ouellette Manor resident.
Pitts claims there are at least 100 people walking through the doors every day that don't buzz up to any room, but are let in by a tenant. It's that kind of behaviour that Pitts wants changed.
“Homelees people sleep here, they get in,” he says. “What’s it’s gonna be like when the mission moves?”
Mission executive director Ron Dunn says many of the people who are critical of the mission and their move into the central library building are the same people who use their food bank and access their hot meals.
“It’s disappointing that people who are disadvantaged are being so ignorant to other people in a similar predicament,” says Dunn. “Homelessness is a bigger city issue that isn't resolved with a magic bullet.”
Kirk Whittall Chief Operating Officer for the Community Housing Corporation says they've been working hard over the years to boost security at 920 Ouellette.
He points to a 400,000 boost to their security budget alone.
Windsor police Sgt Steve Betteridge says they looked at the calls, and they're consistent, not up, not down.
Betteridge says this building is part of a regular patrol by police, activity, he adds will only increase at this time of year.
“The bikes are out, and they're more approachable than an officer in a cruiser,” says Betteridge.
In 2013, Ouellette Manor became the first apartment building in Windsor to have a neighbourhood watch program.
Whittal admits in the last year or so, the interest in it by residents and its effectiveness has fallen off.
Doug Pitts agrees that it’s not effective because residents don't feel safe to express concerns.
Windsor Police for their part say they're willing to meet, but Betteridge points out the tenants have to be a part of the solution for a neighbourhood watch to work.