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Timmins residents say homeless shelter needs to be relocated


Timmins resident Robert Boucher has started a Facebook group calling for the Living Space homeless shelter to be moved out of a residential area.

In just a few days, nearly 500 people have joined the group and all are sharing their concerns about how their neighborhood has changed since the shelter arrived.

Boucher lives in the south end of Timmins, just a few blocks away from the Living Space homeless shelter.

His property backs on to a popular trail and he said ever since the shelter moved near his home in the fall of 2021, he's witnessed an increase in disturbances and crime on the trail and on his property.

He said calls to police have been futile.

"They can steal from any of these yards and as soon as (they’re) back on the trail, they could be anywhere," he said.

“I’m hoping that we can maybe start a Go Fund Me and literally sue the city and charge them for wages. We deserve all the training that needs to be done if we have to deal with the homeless, if we have to deal with mental health issues, if we have to deal with substance abuse people, we need that training. I have to shovel up needles in my yard all the time.”

The Facebook page, called 'Move Living Space!" includes posts from followers about their experiences and voicing the need for change.

Boucher said it has had a major impact on the area.

“Most people don’t even let their kids out and play anymore, like, it’s just too dangerous,” he said.

“If you see a bunch of people walking by, and they’re asking kids for cigarettes, c’mon."

Timmins Mayor Michelle Boileau said the decision to move Living Space to its current Spruce Street South location from near city hall was “a decision based on evidence.”

Boileau said the shelter needs to be near services such as transit and others that help clients.

“In response to the call to bring it further out of the city centre, I would suppose we would just say that would actually be harmful than good to the clients that they’re serving at the emergency shelter,” she said.

She said city officials will use the Facebook page as a means to communicate with the concerned citizens.

“We’re seeing this as an opportunity actually to engage with the residents, of the area, to engage with the people who feel so strongly about the location and you know the issues that may be resulting from the location.”

Boucher said the shelter needs to be closer to where people can get real help, like the hospital for example – not a residential neighbourhood where he said homeowners are struggling to protect themselves and their properties. Top Stories

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