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Why would anybody want to allow homeless encampments without the necessary support in place to help the people trying to survive in the encampments?

This is a complex problem. Any long-term plan must include some kind of education program to help these people. There may be a single event that causes a person to become homeless but that event likely just "pushed them over the edge."

I do not normally deal with people who are homeless but I have dealt with people heading that way. A common theme is lack of funds to pay rent. Rents are very high if you can find a place at all. Whose fault is that? With ever increasing safety standards and expectations as to the size and quality of apartments costs have gone up. Big companies lobby governments to change building codes to include the latest safety devices. This is one reason housing is more expensive. Safer for some but not for those who cannot afford it.

How many of the homeless people once had a place to live? Were they able to find work and pay rent? Did they have enough money for cell phones, tobacco, alcohol and delivered meals? An education program is needed to help people with limited income make the most of the income they have. I know of people who got emergency cash from a local agency and then spent it on pizza and beer. If the plan is to give money to people it will not work. There will never be enough money. Some people really need help managing their limited resources.

How many people were able to keep their housing clean and in reasonable condition before becoming homeless? Too often people who cannot pay rent are the ones who cause significant damage to properties. This adds to the cost for landlords and is part of the problem. It is necessary to provide education programs to teach people how to care for their housing.

Drug addiction is a big part of the problem. How can people addicted to drugs work and be responsible citizens? As long as we have addicts there will be problems. There will always be drug related problems. How we deal with the problems caused by addiction is important. We need programs to get people off drugs so they can work and function in society.

Living in a basement apartment, working for minimum wage, not being able to afford food delivery and not having a cell phone may be tough. Would you rather live in an encampment with drugs addicts? To really help people they need to be educated. At best encampments are a temporary measure to help deal with an emergency situation. It might help but only with lots of support to educate and deal with addictions.

Kevin Burt
Cobourg resident

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