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2014-06-23 at 21:28

'State of crisis'

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Homelessness is a crisis in Thunder Bay and Shelter House needs the city’s help to keep vital programming alive.

Despite warmer temperatures the George Street Shelter is currently full. Starting this fall executive director Patty Hajdu said staff will have no choice but to start admitting people to the 62-bed facility by vulnerability rather than on a first-come-first-serve basis, which she says is awful but necessary.

“We have God moments at times, who gets to live who gets to die,” she told city council Monday night.

Since 2009 the shelter’s operating budget has nearly doubled to $1.8 million because of demand, it now serves an average of 641 meals every day, provincial funding changes and added programming.

That programming, mainly the alcohol management program and the cold weather Street Outreach Service, have been huge successes in the community but might be the first to go if the city can’t nearly double its annual Shelter House contribution to $500,000.

“We know that we’ll be in the same position next year and the years to follow,” Hajdu said. “Our community is in a state of crisis when it comes to homelessness.”

“The board has some hard decisions to make if we cannot get this funding.”

The money would also help make the SOS program run all year. As a four-month winter pilot program it received 934 calls for people who needed help. It also freed up beds at the hospital and detox centre or got those sleeping near storefronts out of the cold.

Coun. Andrew Foulds, who tabled a motion that passed unanimously to fund the program until the request can be considered before next budget season, said the city needs to address the homelessness crisis.

“We can either do nothing and not increase our funding… or we can actually do something,” he said.

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Tbnewswatch.com(22)

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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
cm punk says:
Patty, council members have other plans like an event center.
Why don't you look into getting funding from other government agencies.
If I ever lose my job, house and savings, I doubt council or you for that matter would aid me
6/23/2014 9:33:12 PM
ibrando says:
Hey Fastball!
Will you gladly crawl over homeless people freezing to death on the sidewalk on Cumberland to make sure you don't miss a hockey game? Where are this city's priorities?
6/24/2014 12:28:47 PM
comments unavailable says:
I hope there will be room for all of us in the future...as we the tax payers continue to pay! The way its going we all are going to eventually end up homeless!
6/23/2014 10:23:00 PM
nvjgu says:
More support, more will come. What a mess, right in front of city hall too. I say close those two bar's and that beer store on May St.
6/24/2014 5:25:27 AM
Wolfie says:
And what will closing those places do?
6/24/2014 9:35:53 AM
ou812 says:
Didn't they cry for and get a brand new building a few years back?
6/24/2014 7:33:10 AM
Ozone says:
God moments!! What drama!

This city does not have money to fund these provincial funded social programs. Currently in a budget deficit!!

But Andy Foulds and the other spend fools like angus, virdiarmo, pugh, ruberto hobbs will coninue to blow tax money like drunken sailors!!
6/24/2014 8:00:06 AM
RicknB says:
Sad to see that we have so many homeless people in this city.
6/24/2014 8:52:42 AM
signman says:
Yes it is sad to see so many homeless and the reality is many more of our citizens are facing tough times as costs soar and incomes fall.

Wasteful spending and poor management in city hall is not helping.

Hopefully there will be some new faces running in the Oct 27th municipal election.

If there is no change the Chamber of Commerce will be accurate on their prediction of taxes continuing at alarming rates that many will be UNABLE TO AFFORD !
6/24/2014 10:04:44 AM
Bay City Roller says:
The comments here are pretty pathetic. The city just rubber stamped 1 million dollars last week for "unexpected expenses" for 1 phase of a feasabilty study. but people have a problem spending half that for the shelter house? You people realise that depriving the shelterhouse of this money will not make the homeless people just dissappear. In fact they will be out on the streets and in doorways of businesses. Like it or not this is an issue a city of this size has to deal with. just closing your eyes wont make it go away.
6/24/2014 10:15:20 AM
JIMMY2 says:
I do not want to be like everyone else with negativity, but if you are doing these programs and more and more homeless are in need, isnt first priority getting them shelter, and food, and what is the answer, just handing out more and more money for those to feed off of, and others to realize that maybe free meals is a great thing, and therefore save thier money for drinking when they can go for a free meal, I think we need to look at rehabilitation efforts and ways to get people off assistance, rather then keep funding them. and yes, i am one who doesnt know what the answer is, but someone has to have some suggestions.
6/24/2014 12:24:53 PM
Reignmaker says:
Build the Event Centre and then fill it with homeless people. That way, they can have their "precious" and help the poor.
6/24/2014 2:00:02 PM
conker2012 says:
Would be nice if the moderator would remove the comments from the typical trolls. The event centre has nothing to do with this.

Instead of bandaiding the problems facing our poor, perhaps some route cause analysis could determine why we have so many homeless. Not all but a large portion of homelessness is caused by mental illness, addictions, abuse and abandoning/banishment from reserves. We need to look as solving these problems instead of trolling about the event centre.

The city need support to help solve the problems and prevent people from becoming homeless.

There are some people who choose the homeless lifestyle who are not willing to change and we cannot force them, but unless we prevent it from happening in the first place there will be no change and homelessness will continue into perpetuity.

To all the trolls, stop trolling and contribute to the solution . The EC will generate $6M in new revenue for business, this means more workers will be needed.
6/24/2014 3:24:24 PM
Harold says:
Isnt it funny how these "geniuses" keep bringing up the event center, which has NOTHING to do with the homeless. Maybe these people that cant get their facts straight are part of the problem
6/24/2014 3:41:48 PM
jonthunder says:
Surely, we can have understanding and compassion for the poorest of the poor. People don't wake-up in the morning and say "I want to be homeless, destitute and face an early death. Come-on already.....
6/24/2014 4:29:35 PM
tired says:
Likely this comment will be met with hostility, but not being one to cower, here i go..the problem with the homeless issue in this city is simply this...a majority of the homeless in this city are not truly homeless. They have chosen to leave their homes and come to the city and now use the shelter house as a hotel. This problem goes far beyond the confines of Thunder Bay, and to approach this issue in such a way does nothing to solve it. There is not enough tax payer money to even slow down this avalanche of need...How do we move forward towards a true solution?
6/24/2014 4:46:51 PM
orca says:
The 33million is reserved for the events centre.
6/24/2014 6:12:20 PM
Jon Powers says:
conker2012:

"There are some people who choose the homeless lifestyle who are not willing to change and we cannot force them, but unless we prevent it from happening in the first place there will be no change and homelessness will continue into perpetuity."

So much for the City Of Thunder Bay's Giant Heart!?

Don't blame the victim!

Blame the victimizers!

Did I hear you correctly that you state "Homelessness" & "Mental Illness" are Choices and great lifestyles!?

Just think of all those who could be lifted up out of despair with that $100.Million+?!

You oppose personal well-fare but not "Business-Fare"?

The Next Miss-take By The Lake!

"The EC will generate $6M in new revenue for business, this means more workers will be needed."

Stop taking money from the business customer to feed the business. Leave the taxes low and the businesses will fend for them-selves.


Great Posts!
tbnewswatch.com
6/24/2014 7:15:37 PM
Geezer1 says:
Thanks, conker2012, for educating us on the root causes of homelessness. It is today's problem that needs to be dealt with NOW. The EC, if built as planned, will be tomorrows problem when future taxpayers are faced with the costs to carry and maintain. Will there be enough taxpayers then to cover the costs as well as the real problems? I doubt it.
6/24/2014 8:14:17 PM
tj123 says:
It really blows my mind about the things people have negative comments on in this city, there is a massive stadium being built and none cares about that but to house homeless people that everyone complains about seeing on may st. thats a big issue?
6/24/2014 8:17:17 PM
ring of fire dude says:
"The EC will generate $6M in new revenue for business, this means more workers will be needed." ...... Now I have heard everything !
6/24/2014 10:17:27 PM
moi says:

Patty Hajdu...do like the rest of us have had to do..
Make Due With Less. I agree with cm punk's comments. Stop begging the taxpayers of this city for yet more money--none of us have any extra funds left at the end of day to donate to either Shelter House, or any charity for that matter. We're all in a crisis Patty. Go after the provincial gov't for more resources, because I think most of us are "all tapped out". It seems like the taxpayers are on the hook for darn near everything in this city, and I'm tired of having to bail folks out of a mess not of my making. And for those of you about to say.."but what if it was you?", save it. Sorry to sound blunt,but it's the way I feel.
6/25/2014 10:25:22 AM
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