Kawartha Lakes' Finest Magazine

Private hotel rooms for homeless shelter clients make it difficult to ‘move people along’

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Some of the people who find themselves homeless — and at the doors of A Place Called Home in Lindsay — are not wanting to move along quite as fast these days.

Given the shortage of available affordable housing, the new place they secure with APCH’s help is often just a room at a boarding house. Now, though, with APCH working primarily out of the Knight’s Inn in Lindsay, each person is assigned their own hotel room – a level of privacy that many don’t want to give up, according to executive director David Tilley.

“I can tell you that it has been extremely hard to move people along from the hotel,” he says.

“Many folks who stay with us can only afford a room in a rooming house and while at the hotel they are provided with a private suite,” he points out.

The Advocate was contacted by James Young, 53, on Jan. 8, a client of APCH. He wrote that, “As of today I am being made homeless by the organization that shelters the homeless.”

When the Advocate reached out to Tilley, he said he could not speak about this situation directly due to confidentiality. However, he did share that “a usual stay in the shelter system is six weeks, and extensions were given during COVID.” 

That being said, Tilley added, folks who have been here for 7 or 8 months will need “to move forward.”

James admits he has been at the shelter for about “seven to eight months” after his mother threw him out.

“I just wasn’t prepared for life,” he said, noting his drug addiction and multiple failed relationships. James said he had a room arranged for Dec. 1, but it fell through because the “friend of a friend” decided he didn’t want anyone there. 

Tilley says anyone asked to leave APCH would be given ample notice and be provided with assistance find alternate accommodations.

“If they chose to accept that assistance or not it would be up to them.”

Tilley says he understands that people “don’t want to go backwards but the shelter system isn’t a permanent solution.”

“It is only meant to assist folks temporarily until they are able to get back on their feet — usually a quick turn around of a month or so.”

The executive director said there is a line-up of people attempting to get into the shelter system right now and that people are given lots of time and resources to find permanent housing. APCH has been a 19-bed shelter but since the pandemic numbers have crested over 100 homeless.

As for James, he told the Advocate he’s “moving to Toronto and getting the hell out of Lindsay.”

“I’ve got some leads.”

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also on the communications team of the Basic Income Canada Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

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