The homeless are not just the homeless

Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise. For months, some residents on Main St. have camped out under the glare of…

The homeless are not just the homeless

Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.

For months, some residents on Main St. have camped out under the glare of spotlights in the dark — sleeping in tents, living out of plastic buckets, holding makeshift signs, lighting candles and, in some cases, cooking their meals on open gas grills.

Many have been there for months. Others have been there for years, and some even have police protection.

An encampment on Main St., Photo: Tania Bergeron

Some people have come to support the homeless — others, for financial reasons, are there because they believe the city is not helping them.

The city has been taking action, and it’s led by its homeless action committee. But there’s still a lot of confusion about who’s really homeless.

“We all have to understand, we’re not on our own — we need each other in this city,” said council candidate Mark Tully (Ward 2) at the Feb. 10 meeting of the city’s homeless and poverty committee.

Tully is a former homeless worker who has also been a member of the city’s homeless and poverty committee for several years.

“You’ve got to look at the overall picture — not just the homeless,” Tully said. “It can be (caused) by poverty, but it’s more than that.”

He added the problem can be “prevented, controlled, improved and alleviated.”

Tully, among many others, is also demanding a public apology from the city for misusing data in the official homeless count. The city is already saying it has corrected the problem.

Council candidate Mark Tully, Photo: Tania Bergeron

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