Another cold night outside as Sudbury grapples with acute homeless
An extreme cold warning remains in place for much of the region and for at least 15 people in Greater Sudbury living outside, it could be downright deadly.
Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc said Friday the city currently has space in each of its shelters. Leduc said there are still more than a dozen people who will choose to spend the evening outdoors.
"They are outright refusing help from our agencies, we do have capacity to get them into a safe space, we have capacity at the warming shelter," he said.
Leduc said he, his city council colleagues and city staff are extremely concerned and are doing what they can to help. He said the fire department and other agencies have been conducting individual checks on a regular basis.
"Over the next couple of weeks, I think we're going to have this park fairly cleaned up," he said. "All of these individuals, I think the citizens of Greater Sudbury will be happy to know, will be placed in a warm setting."
It's not just the weather posing a danger to those living outside. Across the way in Tom Davies Square, fire crews were called to a tent outside the Bell building that erupted into flames.
The occupant's belongings were destroyed and staff are working with him to help him get back to his hometown in the Niagara area.
"It's very dangerous," said Pastor Amanda Robichaud of the Elgin Street Mission.
"They're trying to stay warm, doing whatever they can and then you have fires and issues of loss of life that way and things like that -- it's a dangerous situation."
Robichaud knows a few of the individuals who are living outside. She's hoping Sudbury, as a collective, will do more to help those who can't or won't help themselves.
"People are tired of being outside," she said. "They don't have the resources they used to have before COVID-19, such as eating indoors."
Another dangerous situation occurred earlier in the park when Greater Sudbury Utilities discovered their hydro boxes had been tampered with.
Crews have since visited the area and cut any transmission to the cabinets that the city has installed there.
"Someone had broken the locks, pried open the doors and connected to electricity inside the cabinets," said GSU spokesperson Wendy Watson.
"It was obviously an unsafe situation so our crews removed the meter and capped the service, which effectively shut off the power to those boxes."