Some tents re­main at church de­spite or­der to leave

City look­ing for a new emer­gency shel­ter site for home­less

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

Sev­eral oc­cu­pied tents were still stand­ing on the prop­erty at Em­manuel United Church on Wed­nes­day, a day af­ter about a dozen home­less campers were asked to leave — but the min­is­ter says they won’t be al­lowed much longer.

“If I come to the church to­mor­row and there are still tents here, they’ve got to come down,” said Rev. Don Uhryniw in an in­ter­view at the church on Wed­nes­day.

Uhryniw said that’s be­cause it’s get­ting colder at night and he’s con­cerned peo­ple could freeze.

There were about eight tents and six campers left on Wed­nes­day, down from 15 tents and about a dozen campers on Tues­day, the church’s dead­line for va­cat­ing.

“I hope they’re all gone by to­mor­row — they’re pack­ing up slowly,” Uhryniw said on Wed­nes­day, ad­ding that city trucks were ex­pected Thurs­day to pick up garbage left be­hind.

About 20 home­less campers moved to Em­manuel on Aug. 27 af­ter they were evicted from county-owned Vic­to­ria Park, where a 45-tent en­camp­ment sprung up af­ter the Warm­ing Room shel­ter closed July 1.

Campers had clergy’s con­sent to stay un­til Tues­day.

But it wasn’t clear this week where the home­less would go, af­ter leav­ing church prop­erty.

Some told The Ex­am­iner they would sleep on a friend’s sofa, while oth­ers said they were go

ing to stay in a tent trailer or camp else­where.

No­body went to pitch a tent at St. John’s Angli­can Church nearby, where clergy has al­lowed home­less peo­ple to camp since early July.

This week there were eight tents there, down from about 20 in early sum­mer.

Rev. Brad Smith wrote in an email to The Ex­am­iner on Wed­nes­day that he’s not ask­ing any­one to leave.

He’s working with campers to try to find them hous­ing.

He also wrote that the sit­u­a­tion at St. John’s dif­fers from Em­manuel’s in that campers have been there for three months and he’s got­ten to know them well enough to help them “find a work­able so­lu­tion.”

Mean­while the city set up 30 cots for the home­less in the au­di­to­rium of the Peterborou­gh Pub­lic Li­brary.

Since they were made avail­able in mid-July, most of those cots have been empty all night.

Dan Hen­nessey, a home­less camper who stayed at Vic­to­ria Park and later at Em­manuel Church, told The Ex­am­iner this week that many peo­ple don’t use the shel­ter cots in the li­brary.

That’s be­cause they dis­like rules such as hav­ing their bags searched be­fore they can be al­lowed in.

But city com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Brendan Wed­ley wrote in an email to The Ex­am­iner on Tues­day that rules make shel­ters safer both for the home­less and for shel­ter work­ers.

He also wrote that the city is in dis­cus­sions with of­fi­cials from Mur­ray Street Bap­tist Church about po­ten­tially hav­ing emer­gency shel­ter beds there again. The church once hosted the now-de­funct Warm­ing Room be­fore the space had to be closed for re­pairs this sum­mer.

Wed­ley also wrote that the city hasn’t yet se­lected an op­er­a­tor for a shel­ter to re­place the de­funct Warm­ing Room; with these plans still in de­vel­op­ment, he wrote, no open­ing date has been set.

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT EX­AM­INER

Tents, cloth­ing and loads of de­bris re­main on the prop­erty of Em­manuel United Church on Wed­nes­day.

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