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In this episode we talk with Mike and April of “Struggles of the City: Kitchener Waterloo”. We discussed their backgrounds and what made them want to become involved with the less fortunate. Also, their work with “Struggles of the City” and how it came gained traction. We also talk about their involvement with Lot 42.
Mike Ingenue & April Desrochers from Struggles of the City: Kitchener-Waterloo
UPDATE: The encampment at Victoria and Weber has been dismantled. The residents did not find a suitable arrangement that could house all of them.
This half hour examines the Waterloo Region Council meeting on August 11 where housing advocates commented on the Region’s new men’s shelter plan and presented some of the homeless and unsheltered communities’ biggest challenges. Then we speak with Lesley Crompton, a local anti-homelessness advocate for a more in-depth analysis of the issues raised at the meeting.
At the recent Waterloo Regional Council meeting, Council approved two dorm-style shelters with 24-hour access and supports in an unusually long meeting during which Region staff presented the Emergency Shelter Planning Update followed by short presentations by five housing advocates.
Each speaker advocated for specific areas of need in the unsheltered communities and the shelter system. This included
*stressing the need for more transition housing and more permanent affordable housing; decriminalizing homelessness;
*considering a human rights approach to obtaining zero homelessness;
*lowering specific barriers and reforming shelters generally in partnership with a variety of communities, including the homeless themselves; and
*providing basic amenities, such as water and sanitation for encampments and more Lot42-style housing communities.
Each delegate agreed that more spaces need to be made available and more work needs to be done to get people into permanent housing.
In the first hour Jenniefer Stronge speaks with various residents at a Waterloo Region encampment for unsheltered residents. Follow the Unsheltered Campaign at the Civic Hub WR.
In the second hour Jenniefer has a phone call with Karen Nelson to talk about animal abuse at slaughterhouses and during the transportation of animals, and talk about the death of Regan Russell, who was killed by a truck driver at an animal vigil.
This episode begins with a chat with Jeff Willmer who gives us an update on the “A Better Tent City” project at Lot42 in Kitchener.
The second half of the show is a story about a recent eviction from an emergency shelter. In the last week of July, during which the province of Ontario continued an emergency order due to the COVID-19 crisis, Monica Place in Cambridge gave a young single mother, Emma, and her one-year-old child 48 hours notice to move off their premises with little explanation. The unusual move was precipitated by a post on a local Facebook group page, in which a woman asserted that Emma left her child in 35-degree heat while she was smoking. Emma maintains the child was not in danger, she was not acting in anyway illegally or neglectfully. When contacted, Monica House confirmed the eviction but would not comment further.
On Saturday, 1 August 2020 Jenniefer Stronge spoke again with Regan Sunshine Brussé of the Unsheltered Campaign. Regan provided updates on water availability: at one encampment a tap with fresh water has been provided, but at another encampment people are drinking from the river. A portable toilet has been provided by the Region of Waterloo at one location. Regan estimates there are still about 500 people who are unhoused, and winter is approaching. There has been very little progress since the start of pandemic measures in March. She says there are conversations about providing more affordable housing in the area. Regan would like to see the Region or a municipality provide an area of public land for an encampment with better facilities, so that people can be sheltered and maintain their social circles. People cannot be forced into shelter; facilitators need to speak with unsheltered people to find out what they want. There is a lack of trust in the system, and so some people may prefer to remain unsheltered. Today, people need to hide when they’re unsheltered because of opposition to the encampments. If we give unsheltered people a place to be it’s the first step to welcoming them back into society. Covid has shown us what we can do, and how quickly we can do it.
Conversation with Martin Asling, Waterloo Region Yes in My Backyard, as well as Lesley Crompton, Social Development Centre Waterloo Region/Civic Hub. Joining conversation also, is Unsheltered resident, Terry Kaan, T.K.
Grassroot movement, anti poverty work & building better futures for KW residents, & people experiencing homelessness.
On Today’ s show we feature a report back from the April 15th 2020 community organizing meeting in Kitchener to address the Coronavirus pandemic in respect to the homeless population, and implement immediate measures to mitigate the impacts. The meeting was held at the LOT 42 events and conference campus, and among other things, concluded with the announcement of the establishment of a tent city on the LOT 42 property.
We then speak with Nadine Green, Heather Majaury, and Ron Doyle, about the Lot lot 42 site which will be used to house people, as well as run programs that help poor people. The site includes a tent city in the court yard as well as a building with washrooms sports facilities a movie room and common area.
Nadine Green was a downtown store owner who used her store as a place to house homeless people as well as provide them with employment until the city and other forces forced her to shut down. As a result of this resistance was built and Heather Majaury came on board as an indigenous activist who found common cause with Nadine in terms of the plight of homeless people. This collaboration touched the heart of Landlord Ron Doyle who donated his property, lot 42 for Nadine, Heather and other like minded activists to use to solve the housing crisis.
Ron Doyle did this unprecedented move of donating his land as a result of the fact that the city is not doing enough around the, housing crisis and with the outbreak of Covid 19 homeless people more then ever need a place to go and if the city will not provide this space Ron took it upon himself to provide the space.