Tbnewswatch Local News
Sunday July 5 2015
1:29 PM EDT
2014-08-15 at 16:17

Cleaning up

Police asked the city to clean up an area that’s been the scene of two homicides in recent years.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Police asked the city to clean up an area that’s been the scene of two homicides in recent years.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

Cleaning up spots around town is treating the symptoms of homelessness and addiction and will not address its cause, says the Shelter House’s executive director.

The city recently cleared out around 2.5 acres of its vacant land near Field Street, a popular spot for the homeless and the scene of two homicides in the past few years.

Patty Hajdu said she understands why the city wants to clear out the spot, but believes the focus should instead be on the root causes of poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental health.

"We could pave over the entire city but we'd still have a problem with severe homelessness and substance use," she said.

The same spot was cleared last year and people still returned Hajdu said. It's a temporary fix.

"People find new places to go," she said. "Really it's like a hot potato response."

In the mean time more people fall through the cracks, caught in severe, permanent homelessness with no access to services.

Coun. Paul Pugh, whose McKellar ward has the area, said he understands that the city needs to clean up its vacant land but it doesn't solve anything.

"It's not enough to just tear down where they're camping out. At the end of the day they're going to have to have some place to live," he said.

While the city now has a poverty reduction strategy nothing, including its main priority to address the affordable housing crunch in Thunder Bay, has been done to implement it.

"Now you have to put some teeth into it to get this thing going," Pugh said.

Thunder Bay Police Service Deputy Chief Andy Hay agrees that people will go elsewhere and the department will be on the lookout but the cleanup will help give police better visibility in an area that has seen a lot of violent crime.

Brush and undergrowth were cleared out for officers on foot patrol to keep an eye on things and make it safer for everyone. It's been a haven for people with addiction issues but that's made it a very dangerous place, which is why police asked the city to clean it up.

"I think it's going to help in that area significantly with respect to the problems that we've been having there," he said.


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boofer69 says:
As long as we continue to enable the drug use, alcoholism, and the government continues to pay for it (with our money, as tax dollars) There will be places like this used and they will continue to move around the city.
Addicts not receiving money or enough money to buy their drugs and alcohol are robbing the stores, banks, hotels, and peoples houses (which is happening ALL the time it just doesn't make it to the news)
All these problems we are faced with can only be fixed when we decide to help these people, and NOT continue to enable them.
8/18/2014 9:01:14 AM
moneyfornothing says:
Blah blah...I never said FF or police do not do an amazing job.
I said FF are the least used city resource. I think we can capitilaze on this. The days of being paid to sleep for your salary will come to an end. If an emerg doc and nurse can stay up all night surlely you can to.
Your demand calls are not there! It is common knowlege the personal work that is done in the hall and after your "busy" night shift. The time is coming that with budgets the way they are that cities can find other tasks for FF to do with all their down time.
Is that really too much to ask?

Here are some links.





An honest days work for an honest days pay.
8/18/2014 8:09:38 AM
Blah blah says:
Moneyfornothing sounds good until it's your house that there is an emergency at and the fire response team is dropping off homeless or aiding inebriated people causing them valuable minutes to get to your home,And then the lawsuits start. Fire fighters and police officers do an incredible job. At times very grim, depressing and overwhelming. Just sounds like you wish you where a fire fighter making good money.
8/17/2014 10:39:38 AM
jonthunder says:
Cleaning up these deplorable looking sites in our community should not just be about crime and homelessness; it should be about making our community look better for ourselves and tourism. If citizens can work to beautiful their yards, city hall should do its part on public property and ditto for businesses.
8/17/2014 10:10:52 AM
moonwolf says:
One wooded area is just like the next, and when they run out of woods to hide in, guess where they will start showing up??? The problem is addiction and mental illness. The city needs to create more beds for rehabilitation and treatment of the mentally ill. I said it before, but it's worth repeating, the old LPH is a perfect place to reduce the gridlocd at the hospital dealing with the many alcohol and drug abusers taken there for treatment. Get people OFF the waiting list and start doing something that acutally helps address the REAL issues.
8/16/2014 6:22:57 PM
moneyfornothing says:
There are solutions but change is required.
Why not utilize Thunder Bay Fire. They are the least used city resource.
Ambulance and Police are running their tales off. I live near a firehall and the trucks hardly leave. I have seen over and over a FF come off night shift only to stay up to go to his 2nd job/watch his children and then go straight back to work. Who can do this? If you get a chance talk to a fire dispatcher. Eye opening how much down time they have.
Lets utilize this.
I suggest have FF patrol the trouble spots. Have them provide first aid when necessary and escort them to a place of safety such as the Shelter or Detox when appropiate to do so. The city pays to have 40 of them working. How about we put them to work for their 90 000 + salary.
If there is a fire....well they can hop on their truck and away they go.
8/16/2014 1:30:06 PM
spazz says:
they are already first on the scene for most calls dealing with the city homeless. any time you have to call for someone that is passed out and won't respond firefighters are almost 100% the first ones on the scene.
8/18/2014 8:57:24 AM
GSP says:
Vegetation removal won't solve the problem, the individuals causing issues in our community will simply find another place to drink, get high, etc. Perhaps the City of Thunder Bay Police force should spend fewer hours doing stationary radar on North Cumberland Street on a straight stretch with no schools, businesses, etc and more time on the move making some frequent stops at locations like this, McVicar's Creek area, wooded area by Superstore, etc.

We're dealing with symptoms of our issues and not the cause. We need community leaders to openly address the cultural challenges our city faces.
8/16/2014 8:06:59 AM
fastball says:
Ah...I get it now. You'd like them to enforce CERTAIN laws - and not enforce others.
Traffic control is part of the job. Left to their own devices, motorists would gladly approach the sound barrier on streets. Sorry if you got pinched.
All we're doing is moving the drinking and other undesirable behaviour along to some other location. The trick is to STOP the undesirable behaviour.
8/16/2014 10:01:49 AM
dan dan says:
For the most part, the homeless hide and keep to themselves. On the other hand, speeding is completely out-of-control and threatens our lives multiple times on a daily basis. I'd rather see them increase traffic enforcement than hassle the homeless population.
8/16/2014 1:45:01 PM
sd says:
You are right vegetation removal is just solving a symptom and not curing the disease. However your suggestion of the police spending more time on the move making frequent stops in the other known areas where these people congregate is just another example of treating a symptom and will have the same result as clearing that forest. It will just drive the people to another location.
8/17/2014 6:54:11 AM
OilSandsMan says:
Sad part is that they cleaned up this spot, but now that just pushes the homeless and addicted violent folks into other neighbourhoods. Must be an election coming up! That's why the city did it!
8/16/2014 5:40:05 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
I'm going to sound like a very bad person here but I'm going to throw it out there. Cut back on the services for the same people that are not willing to work or do something for the community and these people will either leave, or find work to survive. Give a man a fish and he eats today, teach him to fish and he can feed himself for life. But that doesn't happen here. It is just give and give. Perhaps it's time to look at this different.
8/15/2014 7:54:51 PM
unknowncronik says:
yep, this give give give approach isn't working, that's forsure,
but the "teaching a man to fish" thing isn't going to work either as who would hire these people that have no home? Whom would give these people a chance? Honestly....who?
Would you? Would your company? Doubt it.
What is needed MORE is JAILTIME instead of a fine that they cant pay anyways.
Some are too far gone for ANY help...just walk/drive down May St. later in the evening & see what type of people they are dealing with.
Hardly ANY of them can stand up & when they do, they cut across the road regardless of traffic etc. This town has become brutal after dark & many don't even go out much at nite anymore because of the violence.
They run in groups & pick on someone walking alone to rob or stab. It's sad, but reality here in Thunder Bay now.
8/16/2014 1:42:42 PM
tsb says:
It costs over $100,000/year to house a criminal in jail.

It costs less than $25,000/year to have someone in rehab.
8/17/2014 11:02:21 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
8/18/2014 4:02:44 AM
fastball says:
Jail time isn't free. Taxpayers end up paying for it. Realistically, there is no "jail time" penalty for homelessness or for being an addict.
If you want to take a long term, dollar-for-value look at it - I would suggest that spending X dollars to try to clean someone up so they can be addiction-free for the rest of their lives is money far better spent than spending twice as much tax money keeping someone in jail - which basically accomplishes nothing but taking up valuable court time and cluttering up our legal system.
8/17/2014 11:20:20 AM
humnchuck says:
So you'd rather pay for the incarceration? Because you're paying either way. How does putting someone in jail for being homeless teach them anything?

The U.S. has the highest rate of incarcerated citizens in the world (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate). Go walk around LA, San Francisco, New York, or just about anywhere else in the U.S. and see if jailing people has eliminated homelessness.
8/17/2014 1:27:34 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
I've tried twice! What did I hear back. Oh my back is bad so I can't work. Or I don't think I'm suited for that work. I don't know anything about that. My reply, you serious, I'm offering you, a homeless guy some paid work and I'll buy you lunch and you don't want it. Good Luck Buddy. So how much do I now donate to Shelter House and the other street venues. ZERO!
8/17/2014 5:43:10 PM
Kam River says:
Paul Pugh, and Patty Hajdu, will be trying to solve the root case of crime in the city no matter how much of our money the spend It will never be enough.
TBDSSAB 2014 budget, totaling $73.4 million, will be used to assist vulnerable individuals throughout the District of Thunder Bay.
Overall, 78% of the budget will be allocated as direct transfer payments to individuals and families as well as funded agencies that provide social services consistent with TBDSSAB’s legislated service requirements.
8/15/2014 7:09:38 PM
Crinkles says:
The city gets a bad rep for its treatment of homeless citizens. But being a former homeless women on the streets of Vancouver and as well as volunteering my time now here in Thunder Bay. I must say we are doing an alright job with our resources.

God Bless those who helped me through the most difficult time of my life. I can only Repay it those in need now.

8/15/2014 4:31:32 PM
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