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Sudburians rally to raise awareness about basic needs of the local vulnerable population

On Monday in Greater Sudbury a former outreach worker held an information rally to draw awareness to issues facing the homeless in the city – two major issues being a lack of public washrooms and not enough shelter beds for men.

One homeless man in attendance shared his story and said these issues the vulnerable face are real.

Randal Sutherland said he has been homeless on and off for three years now – right now he is living on the streets.

Sutherland said the lack of public bathrooms is an unpleasant and ongoing problem for people with no place to call home.

"People in the city they know these things,” he said.

“They think that the homeless, you know, have no respect.”

Sutherland said it is not that these people try to go where they can.

“But what are you going to do when they is no where to go,” he said.

“Like it's sad."

Former outreach worker Brittany Laurie told CTV News that the information rally was to draw awareness to a lack of 24-hour public bathrooms downtown.

"The public complains that the downtown core smells like urine, it smells like feces, it smells like BO (body odour),” she said.

“It smells but people don't have the dignity or the opportunities to use bathrooms elsewhere so they find alleyways where they get a little as-semblance of privacy."

A lack of accessible safe men's shelter beds was the other issue participants said is a big barrier for homeless men.

"There are 76 plus beds for women but the majority of the homeless are men,” said Laurie.

“So you got 65-year-old men that are sleeping outside in the rain and the cold."

Organizers of the rally said they estimate there are close to 300 people who are homeless in Sudbury right now – adding the rally was about giving them a voice and raising public awareness about basic needs that are not being met.

CTV News reach out to the city for comment – they responded with a statement that said in part:

“At this time the City of Greater Sudbury does not have plans to increase emergency shelter beds within the system or a strategy to implement overnight public access to washrooms.”

The city also provided a list of facilities in the downtown area that provide daytime access to public washrooms and/or water.

Daytime washrooms listed included:

  • the Samaritan Centre from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.,
  • the Elgin Street Mission from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday as well as from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays,
  • the Blue Door Soup Kitchen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • Elm Place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday (Elm Place however does not provide water access),
  • the Greater Sudbury Library – Mackenzie Street Branch from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays as well as from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays,
  • and Tom Davies Square from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The city also said youth 25 and under can access a washroom at the SACY Youth Drop-in from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays and the Sudbury Community Arena provides 24/7 access to water.

Earlier this year, when CTV News asked about reports of feces downtown, a city spokesperson advised that the city does complete downtown litter abatement.

“If a call is received about feces, it will be picked up at the earliest possible opportunity," they said at the time Top Stories

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