Peterborough’s tent city problem, solved
The solution to the tent city problem in Peterborough is quick and cost-effective.
If each of the city council members and the mayor, along with those people who supplied tents, sleeping bags, water and food, would each take one of these poor souls into their homes the problem would be over immediately. Most people have an extra room or space in their basement where a cot could be set up, so there would be no added cost to each individual.
The new landlord would have to accept a small amount of rent from each tenant because the majority of the folks in tent city are collecting either ODSP or some form of social assistance that requires them to produce a rent receipt, so they can continue to collect their monthly stipend. If the new landlord takes $200 or $300 for rent, the tenant still has a money left over each month to pay for their cigarettes, cellphones and tattoos.
The new landlord would only be expected to ensure the tenant leaves the house early enough each day to enable them to get to the St. Johns’ Church food kitchen in time for the free lunch. The tenant could then spend the afternoon socializing with peers while they wait for their free supper. The tenant would then make their way home in time to spend a few comfortable hours watching television with their new family.
There are some simple cautionary things each landlord would be expected to do as well.
1. Do not leave cash, credit cards or other valuables lying around your house because you wouldn’t want to be accused of providing an overwhelming temptation.
2. Do the same with your prescription medications for the same reason.
3. Take the 15- to 20-minute lesson from your local pharmacy to learn when and how to administer Naloxone and keep a free kit handy just in case. By the way, the free kit costs the taxpayer $200 each.
4. Attend the local health unit and pick up a plastic “sharps” dispenser so that the needles are not a concern in your yard.
Sounds pretty simple to me. And since Mayor Di ran on a platform of providing affordable housing, perhaps she should set the example and take in two or even three of the tent city folks. I’m sure they would appreciate it.
Steve Adam, Peterborough
A site photo of homeless campers occupying Victoria Park.