THUNDER BAY – A walk around downtown Fort William offers non-scientific evidence that the homeless crisis in Thunder Bay is real. There are places around the city where homeless people have gathered over the years seeking a place at night where they may rest.
Shelter House is operating over the capacity of the facility. The program’s SOS program which seeks to ensure that people on our streets don’t suffer needlessly tours the downtown at night.
The Salvation Army has room but is located across the city. Getting across town can be difficult for people without homes, vehicles or money.
The signs of the problems are evident.
Thunder Bay City Council has stated that dealing with the social problems is going to be a key focus during this term of Council.
Mayor Hobbs, delivering his State of the City Speech in November stated, “There are some issues we must address. Social issues such as poverty, homelessness, a lack of affordable housing, addictions, crime, racism and discrimination.
“We want our City to be safe, warm, inclusive and welcoming. That sentiment, in fact, is expressed as a strategic direction in Thunder Bay’s 2011 to 2014 Strategic Plan, which directs us to create “a caring, welcoming, inclusive City,” one that’s good for those of us who live here, for our visitors, and our businesses. We all need to work harder to achieve this”.
Today, December 30th, the City of Vancouver, where temperatures are expected to drop to -4c has declared a state of emergency for homeless people in that community.
With the wind chill in Thunder Bay heading close to -40c, there is no similar process – for Thunder Bay winter is a perpetual state of emergency for the homeless.