Some residents still camped on lawn of west Windsor apartment building
WINDSOR, ONT. -- It’s been more than two weeks since an apartment building on Windsor’s west side was deemed unsafe and residents were required to move out.
Several set up camp on the lawn of River Place Residence, but the city says that has to stop and they are calling on the property owners to step up.
Sarah Hodgkins has been living outside her former apartment building at 245 Detroit Street for more than two weeks, but that may soon come to an end.
“I want to see a roof over my head and a toilet that I can flush,” says Hodgkins.
The city’s chief building official, John Revell says there are still 13 people living on the front lawn of the property,which is becoming a problem.
“We need the camping to stop on this property, we need the property to get cleaned up and become part of the community again,” says Revell.
Revell says it’s creating a yard issue for the neighbours that are there and it’s a violation of the city bylaws.
“I haven’t gone because I’m not ready to go to a shelter,” says Hodgkins.
More than a dozen families have been successful so far in finding housing.
“Housing people have been here and are helping us,” says Hodgkins. “People in the community have been dropping off food for us which has been very helpful and very appreciated. I want to say thank you to all of them.”
The city is asking residents to stop making donations.
“There’s a few noble minded community individuals that keep bringing supplies to the property, tents, food and they’re actually contributing to the problem,” says Revell.
“The focus needs to be on relocating these individuals and try to help them find accommodations for the long term.”
Ashley Shepley from Windsor Community Connections says they are one of the groups trying to help.
“It hurts honestly, it hurts,” says Shepley. “The community wants to help, and the city is telling them not to because they’ve got it covered.”
Revell says the city is trying to work with the property owners.
“We can’t continue to have this as a campsite in the middle of the city on private property it is an issue and the owners do need to contact the city,” says Revell. “We’ve been endeavoring to reach them, they are not returning our calls at this point but we do need to communicate it is going to become a bigger issue of consequences for the owners.”
CTV News Windsor reached out to the property management group and received a response late Thursday evening.
In an email, Michael Thiele, a lawyer representing the property owner said in part, "The persons remaining on the property are trespassing because they do not have permission to be there. That being said, the owner is not insensitive to the position of the trespassers.
"The owners understand that housing support workers have reached out to provide service and house these persons. The owners have provided support and at the request of Windsor Police even allowed the Wifi to be available so that the people there could connect with social services."