The city of Peterborough must do more to help homeless people living in the large encampment around Wolfe Street, Deputy Chief Constable Tim Farquharson said.
“This is an extremely polarizing and divisive challenge and we will meet again shortly on this to come up with a better interim strategy,” Farquharson said via email. “It’s really cold and we have to do better than we are right now, I always say the litmus test of a caring, compassionate and capable community is in how we treat our most vulnerable and fail.”
Each time homeless people are evicted in a perpetual cycle of displacement, they simply move to another location in the city, making it harder to find people when needed, he explained.
“Although all agree that the camp is far too big at the moment, many advocate the ability/ease of finding people when needed to ensure some take their medication, others attend appointments with psychologists, dentists and doctors,” he said.
Charlie Gregory, a resident of Peterborough, believes the city should work to improve conditions on Wolfe Street, while trying to find shelter for the homeless.
“For the love of God, can’t some portable potty and garbage collection be initiated on a regular basis,” he said via email. “If it was a group of immigrants from another country seeking shelter, we would move mountains to house them.”
Gregory noted that more than 60 people live in this camp and that large amounts of waste accumulate.
“My best suggestion, and I’ve said this to a few already, is that all rough sleepers form a union to fight City Hall, the Ontario and Federal governments for the obvious lack services for them,” he said.
Gregory said the local council’s spending priorities were way behind.
“I don’t understand how we can build a $15 million dog pound; we can erect a $50 million twin rink and ice rink, and we can house a bunch of old canoes for over $20, but we can’t find accommodation for a certain group of people,” Gregory said.
Farquharson reminded people that homeless people want to get out of the situation as soon as possible.
“I talk to a lot of our marginalized and disenfranchised people and none of them want to be in the position they are in for a myriad of reasons,” he said.