Homeless people coming to Sudbury present challenges
NEWS -- There has been a recent increase in homeless people in Sudbury with an influx of people from other areas coming to the city. It's an increase people who work with the homeless see every spring but there are concerns about people travelling in the pandemic and bringing the virus with them.
"There are quite a few new faces in town. We are estimating it from our street outreach sector, about 20 new faces that are in town now, which is of concern with the current lockdown -- the pandemic," said Ray Landry, of the Homelessness Network.
Landry said every spring more transient people come to Sudbury.
"History has shown that Sudbury, being one of the bigger cities in the north, is a place where a lot of people gather from different places or at least are passing through. And so we see this on a regular basis around this time of year, especially throughout the summer," Landry said.
CTV News has learned one homeless individual, who recently came to Sudbury from a COVID-19 hot spot, had to be treated for the disease.
The city confirms it does provide isolation support services for homeless people, including staying in a local motel with food, provisions, and supports.
Officials at the Samaritan Centre said they've also seen more people from other areas accessing services and help.
"It could be a number of different factors. Perhaps some people are coming up from hot spots because they are being pushed out of these hot spot zones with maybe a lack of service there. So they are coming north thinking that northern Ontario has more available, which is just not the case at all," said Lisa Long, of the Samaritan Centre.
The Samaritan Centre and the Homelessness Network said several outreach teams try to connect with newcomers with no place to call home.
"As with our regular or usual homeless population, we try to make sure that we are connecting with them to let them know there are services for them while they are here and to help them integrate if that is their plan or help them along if that is their plan also," Landry said.
Officials with the Homelessness Network call it the perfect storm for a surge in the homeless population in Sudbury in the coming months citing the pandemic, the lack of geared-to-income housing, access to services, and the opioid crisis.