Peter­bor­ough’s tent city prob­lem, solved

The Peterborough Examiner - - Opinion -

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

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT EX­AM­INER

A site photo of homeless cam­pers oc­cu­py­ing Vic­to­ria Park.

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