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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Homeless before it gets cold - again!

Resident of the Ward looks to municipal leaders for real solutions to the problems of homelessness in Guelph
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File photo shows a tree branch over looking the Eramosa River. Anam Khan/GuelphToday

GuelphToday has receive the following letter from Chuck Reece who is concerned about the plight of homeless people living in the forest along the Eramosa River.

When I walk in the forest along the Eramosa River I see stone fire rings from many years ago. The local historians they tell us they are from the 1930's and the great depression when indigent and desperate people lived in the woods and tried to survive.

Today again in these same places we have a number of occupied homeless camps in the forest, and that is just in my small part of town. People are trying to survive in the forest in these homeless camps.

These folks are beefing up their camps and will be attempting to spend another winter in the woods. And yet again the camps will be abandoned when it gets cold and the refuse left will be for the stewards of our environment to clean up along with city resources. We can no longer count on the provincial government to assist in any way. It will be our duty and accepted easily as Guelphites. We do it every year.

Guelph didn't care back then and by what we are seeing in the woods; Guelph does not care today. We are a wealthy city compared to most now as we were then in the 1930's.
These homeless folks and their pets need help and they need it before the heavy frost comes. Rousting these people and moving them will not work. Real help is needed to convince them of the benefits of a move to safety and assistance with their logistics. Strong arming these people will only move them further into the woods and further away from help and the necessities of life and security.
Surly we have the resources in this good city to deal directly and in a face to face manner to give the help, guidance and direction needed with these folks. Motivation not scorn or punishment?

Mr. Mayor you made a commitment to be an advocate and a support for the homeless. We realize you cannot be all things to everyone, but this is getting out of control: people living in the woods, not to mention we cannot walk our trails and enjoy our green space we boast of, plus cost clean up.These camps are directly on or adjacent to walking trails.

My question to you and our city council is; where are your commitments, where your wallets, but most of all; where is your compassion!

Chuck Reece
Proudly in the Ward



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