Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the “Tent Cities” that have appeared in Cornwall. And walking around Cornwall, I am alarmed with the amount of homeless people I am seeing. The sad thing about what I notice is that there are people of all ages who are finding themselves in this terrible situation and contrary to what many believe, if feels as though any of us could find ourselves homeless at any time due to the economic situation these days.
On the City of Cornwall Website (Cornwall.ca) there is a section that defines homelessness as follows:
Homelessness “describes the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it.”
Enumeration will include three types of homelessness:
- Unsheltered – those sleeping in public spaces or places not intended for human habitation because they have nowhere else to stay
- Emergency Sheltered – those who are accessing emergency shelters, including violence against women shelters, or hotel/motel beds in lieu of shelter beds
- Provisionally Accommodated – those who are living in temporary accommodations with no guarantee that they can continue to stay there. This includes hidden homelessness (e.g. couch-surfing) and temporary rentals (e.g. motels, rooming houses). It also includes transitional housing and institutions (e.g. hospitals, residential treatment programs) where individuals may be discharged into a state of homelessness.
While delivering the November issue of The SDG & A Cornwall Seeker on Friday afternoon (November 10th) I made a stop at the Winter Housing Press Conference that was held at the site of the former Parisien Manor on the corner of Marlborough and Second Street. The building is for sale but thankfully, with the cold weather approaching fast, the City of Cornwall, along with many partners, has worked hard with the owners to secure this space that will give the occupants of the “Tent Cities” a warm and safe space for a period of seven months. During this time, Housing Services staff will work to secure permanent housing for residents housed through the Stepping Stone Project.
Speakers at the Press Conference included (from right to left): Cornwall CAO Mathieu Fleury, Mayor Justin Towndale, April Adams-Phillips, a district chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and Juliette Labossiere, Executive Director of the United Way of SDG who gave more detailed information adding to a media release from a few days ago that stated “The City of Cornwall has leased the former Parisien Manor to provide housing to residents living in encampments and/or on the homelessness waitlist (By-Name List) during the winter months.“
Members of the local media and also CTV were told that the building has 20 available rooms and as we were listening to the information a Cornwall Transit bus was parked at the Marlborough entrance of the building where people were already being moved in.
I for one am happy that these people will not be in the cold and I hope that everyone from the Tent Cities will be willing to move and I am also hoping that with the former Vincent Massey Public School, purchased by the City of Cornwall and now called “Massey Place” there will be some extra support for the most vulnerable in our community as this site will offer community services and housing options in partnership with local non-profits.
As you walk around our Community please be kind to others and if by chance you can help someone, please do so as I for one have recently helped a couple of people and just being able to do so certainly made my day so much better and I know it was much appreciated by the two individuals as well!
As stated in the previous media release “The City of Cornwall asks that residents refrain from bringing donations to the former Parisien Manor site. We urge citizens to make donations to the United Way of SDG.” and to refer someone to the By-Name list, please contact the Housing Office at 613-933-6282. For more information, visit: http://www.Cornwall.ca/enumeration.