Tent city set up at North Bay city hall to raise awareness of homeless issue
NORTH BAY -- A group of homeless people are camping out in tents in front of North Bay city hall to raise awareness of the ongoing homeless situation in the city.
Shane Moyer, who was recently evicted from his home, set up his tent last week and has lived there ever since.
"City hall needs to be aware of how many people are homeless,” Moyer said. “We don’t have enough affordable housing.”
He said there are at least 130 people living on the streets in North Bay. Sunday night, between10-15 people slept at the tent city. Volunteers with the neighbourhood Boots-On-The-Ground group swung by to hand out snacks and drinks.
“We have had people on the street for well over a year that have had to suffer from amputations to hypothermia and that’s just not acceptable,” Moyer said. “The numbers are going to continue to rise without help.”
The group has been in contact with the city's social services administration board about finding more affordable housing units in the city.
Way below average
On Sept. 6, City Councillor Mark King, who is chair of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board, told CTV News that North Bay was way below the average set by the province in terms of affordable housing.
On Monday, King confirmed that a long-awaited transitional housing program at the low-barrier shelter will start before the new year, now that funding is in place.
“We believe that transitional housing is a mechanism to allow these people to live on their own with the necessary supports in place," said King. “Let me make this perfectly clear: there is a facility right now for those people. We have the facility set up, in terms of the low-barrier shelter.”
King has pledged the shelter will not move again. It has already moved from many previous locations: from the old Good2Go building on Main Street, then to the YMCA, to the Pete Palangio twin-pad arena. It’s now situated at the old Ontario Provincial Police station on Chippewa Street.
King said he spoke with representatives from the city and DNSSAB. He told Moyer that arrangements will be made for him and the rest of the group. King also told the group to pack up their belongings before city bylaw officers or police officers forces them off the property.
“We are going to eventually be leaving,” said Moyer.
Moyer said a couple of the tents were donated to help those sleeping on the streets.
“Not all of the people on the street are undesirable, not all of the people on the street have addictions or struggle from addictions,” said Moyer. “Everybody deserves a safe place to be and that’s why I am here, to stand up for those people.”
Moyer said part of the problem is that upper levels of government are not listening, and that wrongful evictions have led to a majority of the homeless problem in North Bay.