A local union leader is moved with compassion for people displaced from their place of residence at Al’s Corner Pub on James Street, calling for more direct action for those faced with homelessness.
It is believed those displaced were among a group of people gathered Friday at the corner of Albert Street and Gore Street.
“Where’s the compassion of the city councillors?” said Mike Da Prat, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2251 president, speaking to SooToday Friday.
The Local 2251 office is located directly across from the spot where those who were displaced congregated.
“Where are they going to go? They’re walking down the street with suitcases and shopping carts,” Da Prat said.
“We (Local 2251 officials) went out and we purchased some stuff…to see what we could do for them. Granola bars, crackers, water, juice packs, stuff like that.”
Da Prat said he was informed the homeless group was told Friday they were trespassing and instructed to leave the area.
It is unclear at this time who issued such a warning.
“They (city officials) should have put up a tent city if they had to…these people can’t sleep outside.”
However, Mike Nadeau, District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSMSSAB) chief administrative officer, said shelter is available for people who find themselves suddenly homeless.
“St. Vincent Place is for men and Pauline’s Place is for women, youth and families, and if St. Vincent Place is full, we also have an overflow shelter as well at Pauline’s Place. So we have a shelter system in place for people to go to that currently exists. It’s there for people to use and take advantage of, based on their need.”
“We also did reach out once we heard (about residents told to leave their dwelling place at Al’s Corner Pub). Whenever there’s a significant housing event we’ll despatch our Homelessness Prevention Team, a multi-agency team. We went to Al’s Corner Pub and then we also went to the corner of Gore and Albert Street today to speak to individuals to find out what their specific needs were, tell them about the system, where the shelters are located and how we can help,” Nadeau said.
However, not every one engaged by Social Services with advice regarding shelter avails themselves of those services, officials say.
“I believe that the Red Cross also was despatched today to that location and the Red Cross would offer short term accommodations in a hotel, up to 72 hours, then we come in and try to provide longer term (accomodation)…it’s my understanding no one took the Red Cross up on their offer of short term accommodation,” Nadeau said.
“The Housing and Homelessness team from Social Services registered all the residents of the building (Al’s Corner Pub) for emergency shelter and housing, and that was two months, maybe a month ago,” said Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen.
“It’s not an adequate place for people to live.”
The intersection of Gore and Albert lies within Ward 2, represented by Vezeau-Allen and wardmate Luke Dufour.
In addition to shelters, the Community Wellness Bus is staffed by Sault Area Hospital, Canadian Mental Health Association and Algoma Family Services, the vehicle itself provided and maintained by Social Services.
It provides medical services for the marginalized.
The former Neighbourhood Resource Centre (NRC) on Gore Street is now closed due to its own structural issues, but a new NRC will be located at the former Sacred Heart School on Wellington Street East.
“We’re still working on that project. COVID has really, really delayed that building, to get that up and running as quickly as we wanted to do,” Nadeau said.
Once a tender has been approved, Nadeau said “it’s a significant renovation that needs to occur there, capital renovations. It’s going to need months and months before that’s in operation.”
Original Article: https://www.sootoday.com/local-news/union-leader-calls-on-city-to-help-after-homeless-group-displaced-from-als-pub-3827502