Move to get Agreement on Rules for Transition House

On January 10, at the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting, Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley asked Council to implement an agreement with Northumberland County and Transition House similar to the agreement made by Whitby and Durham concerning an “emergency shelter” similar to the Transition house planned for 310 Division St. If implemented, it’s expected to help Transition House’s successful “operation and integration into the community”. Such an agreement between Cobourg, the County and Transition house would be a commitment to a wide range of actions that would be a “response to numerous failed examples across Ontario” – that is, in my words, it would go a long way to resolving concerns on the new expanded, relocated, Transition House.

A petition was also presented and there were 7 supporting letters but they were not discussed in detail.  However, Council was supportive of the ideas put forward and a motion to direct staff to implement the idea was moved by Mayor Cleveland and seconded by Councillor Bureau and passed. The motion will be up for ratification at the Regular Council meeting on 31 January. So let’s look at the details.

Highlights of Whitby Agreement

310 Division St.

See the full delegation text in Resources – includes a longer list of highlights

The Whitby Agreement:

  • Developed a code of conduct for shelter occupants inside the facility, as well as, in the surrounding community, with consequences for not abiding by it.
  • 24/7 onsite private security deemed necessary to operate the shelter.
  • Hired mobile private security patrols in the neighbourhood of the shelter day and night for enhanced security for residents and shelter occupants.
  • A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) consisting of neighbouring residents, business owners, Town of Whitby, Durham Region staff, police, shelter staff, and fire department officials was created to allow ongoing productive communication and to mitigate issues with stakeholders related to the shelter as the arise.
  • Officials committed to enhanced garbage and drug paraphernalia removal at private residences, businesses, and public spaces within a 500 m – 1000 m radius around the shelter property on a continual basis.
  • Whitby residents who are in need of sheltering services are a priority to be sheltered.
  • The parties acknowledge that a low-barrier shelter space is not a “no barrier” shelter space. Living in community with other people means following the enforceable principles of a code of conduct, by-laws, and laws that apply.
  • A commitment to capping emergency shelter beds at 45.
  • Acceptable uses for the facility’s additional space in the future included supportive housing, legal counselling, administrative space, and classroom space.
  • All future space uses will be discussed with the CLC and the Town of Whitby.
  • A commitment for the Dundas shelter to NOT house a safe injection site.

Summary of Motion by Council

  • Staff to report back to Regular Council for comment on the proposed recommendations.
  • Staff to include in the report back a review on the amendment of various Municipal By-laws that would enhance the ability to enforce nuisance related incidents on all municipal property, and to specifically include a provision on the prohibition of consuming illegal drugs in a public place and loitering in public places.
  • Staff to reach out to the Transition Board to request that a Cobourg Council Member sit on the Transition Board of Directors as a Liaison Member.

I’m sure the community will thank Dr. Allen and her husband Jeff Crowley for bringing specific recommendations to Council. And hopefully Staff will find a way to do as council has directed.

Resources

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Sandpiper
27 days ago

Here,s a Thought —
If the Town , County , Ontario Govt
can and has Banned and infringed oh somebodies wright to smoke or consume Tobacco products for the Betterment of All and for Health Reasons of us and all Canadians and stopped everyone from Smoking with in 20 Meters of any
Public or Posted Private Building , or from any and All indoor areas and residents as well as reduce the Provincial Health Costs Then why are our Public Officials so Useless as to Not be enforcing the law against Public intoxication and illicit drug use and dealing with Mental health issues from drug use and addictions They did it with Tobacco ??????? It was addictive.

James Bisson
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 days ago

The reduction in visible tobacco use was achieved through changes in societies perception of smoking, restricting areas that people can smoke, marketing and distribution regulations, and enforcement of the laws regarding supply and use. There is an undercurrent that promotes the normalization of drug addiction which is counterproductive in addressing the impact of the drug crisis on our communities. For my part, seeing first hand individuals on our streets in a drug induced state without a sense of the reality around them will NEVER be normal.
Comparing synthetic drugs with other forms of “addiction” is a faulty line of logic. The potency of the product, the impact on the individual, their family, and their community, and the costs to society both financially and from a security perspective is on another scale than coffee or cigarettes or even alcohol post Prohibition. Drinking a coffee, smoking a cigarette, or having a beer does not cause most people to enter into a hallucinogenic, euphoric, paranoid state with a high probability of overdose. A single dose of meth or fentanyl does.

Concerned Taxpayer
28 days ago

What the County needs to provide is an overdose prevention site adjacent to the encampment. This will potentially decrease fire/ police/ ambulance calls and provide Education and support when it comes to substance use struggles.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
28 days ago

…then emergency responses are concentrated in one area making it easier for paramedics to respond.

Cathy
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
28 days ago

not an overdose prevention site, we need detox/rehab facilities.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Cathy
27 days ago

…the overdose prevention site could act as the springboard to identify folks seeking detox/rehab services and enable them to receive the help and support they need..

Scottie
1 month ago

A couple of people on this site have mentioned unleashed dogs at the encampment, running at people, as well as running into traffic. This breaks my heart for these poor animals, as well as for anyone harmed by them. They are “unhoused” through no fault of their own, with “unhoused” owners who obviously haven’t been able to look after themselves properly, let alone an innocent animal . Anyone who sees an unleashed dog, anywhere, encampment or not, should call the Municipal Animal Control at 905-885-7808. This service is now handled by the Northumberland Humane Society. The animals will be well looked after – a vet will be called in if there’s a health issue – and when they are deemed healthy and after a few days’ waiting period, they will be put up for adoption, with potential new owners being screened very carefully. That’s the LEAST we can do to help these poor animals.

Rob
Reply to  Scottie
1 month ago

Good idea…perhaps those dogs should be spade or neutered as well. I suspect some are not licensed which, from my understanding, is requirement. Most taxpayers would be required to pay a fine if a dog is unlicensed but rules, laws, by-laws, etc do not seem to apply to encampers who choose to be homeless.

I passed by tent city last night and it is nothing less than an humiliating embarrassment, a disgusting reminder of inaction and poor leadership. Its absolutely shameful and this Council should be forced to visit once per week to see the results of their actions.

Sonya
Reply to  Scottie
28 days ago

I believe if you see an unleaded dog you’re suppose to call bylaw. Yes, and that dog from the encampment was running around again lose.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Lets Face it the Damage has been done
There will be loses of property Values in the area for sure as already demonstrated by the Massive Price reductions on the property to the south owned by the Drs. They need a Buyer
of compatible uses to 310 Div. thus expanding the attraction and attention to the Cobourg Downtown . Will it continue to be a safe area to live in That speaks for it self with what
examples we have seen so far . Yes Policing & Security cost will and have gone up through Taxation Have the Police spoken to this matter or presented a plan to the Town
Not Really at least not one that seems to make a difference to Public Opinion
How Good do we Feel Now in this F— feel good town

Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

People with mental health and drug issues need to be close to the hospital for emergency treatment and counselling, close to the County building to pick up their welfare checks and close to a grocery store, Dollarama, Giant Tiger, Tim Horton’s and a convenience store to get their smokes. Golden Plough meets all of this criteria.

Downtowner
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Agree fully,l see before it opens that 310 Division will not be the complete answer to the unhoused as it is being suggested. For seniors and folks working but needing affordable rent…perfect. With some renos..family space.
The addiction and mental health issues are in depth problems requiring a more clinical approach provided with proximity to the Golden Plough area and with a positive approach as the Golden Plough moves to it’s new space utilizing the vacant space upon availability

Sonya
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

This will never happen. The county would never have a homeless shelter beside them. They’re afraid of the homeless. Do you remember when the homeless were camped beside them in the summer the county hired 24/7 security for themselves they were so afraid of the homeless. Some of the staff were to afraid to come to work.

Downtowner
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

Facing reality is eye opening for some..l guessing “not in my back yard stands” true here…..but ok to keep pounding the down town of Cobourg…with the issue. For that matter Cobourg all together.

Catherine
Reply to  Sonya
1 month ago

Yep – but my kids can walk past them and apparently it’s no issue 💁‍♀️. My kids are frustrated because I no longer allow them past our street (previously could go to Tim Hortons, convenience store, park). If I express these safety concerns I’m gaslit and told it’s perfectly safe. People on drugs are unpredictable. There’s needles, feces, not to mention apparently some of them have dogs now (which I’m not necessarily opposed to) but they are obviously too high to look after them properly. They are running unleashed at people and other dogs. There’s no way the county would put up with half of this.

Downtowner
Reply to  Catherine
1 month ago

Yes, have seen one unleased dog run fro the camp into traffic….not safe situation for animals

Jennifer Darrell
1 month ago

Dr Allen and Jeff Crowley are to be commended for the time they have dedicated to making valuable input to the elected officials, their in depth research and their continuing reasoned approaches to this issue which obviously affects their livelihood and investments.
As a resident in the neighborhood, I, for one, appreciate their efforts.
I also find myself very conflicted over the entire issue of the homeless and the encampment and the efforts of both organizations like Greenwood Coalition and the sleeping cabin initiative and individual citizens since I am sympathetic to the challenges faced by the mentally ill, addicted, not so privileged members of our community and many who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own but am also concerned about those who seem to make no effort to address their problems but feel entitled to others providing the solutions.
I am also empathic to the efforts and challenges of the County which is charged with responsibility for social housing but faces much criticism when an effort is made to solve some of the associated problems.
I highly recommend that all readers listen to the PACE discussion that took place this past week on the homeless. The talk was recorded and, while it may not yet be posted on the PACE web site, it will be eventually.
Many readers who hold strong opinions on the homeless issue might benefit from listening to the discussion if they keep an open mind and are prepared to learn about the complexity of the problem and issues.
The PACE web site lists all recordings of its talks @ https://nhh.ca/pace

Give me a break
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
1 month ago

As you may have seen at the NHH Pace presentation it took an Occupational Therapist and young doctor to go out of their way to meet the issue head on …. And understand the issues faced by the homeless in London Ontario. This presentation was recorded and will be available for viewing in the next few weeks. I encourage folks to take the time to view it especially the leaders of the Towns, our local politicians and groups like GWC …..

Kevin
1 month ago

Meanwhile, Chris N. was walking west on King St. with his, or somebody’s, leaf blower. Odd time of the year to be blowing leaves. Will 310 Division accommodate bicycle maintenance and other such activities common around certain properties, including Transition House? There is a bicycle group in Cobourg that offers free bicycles in exchange for volunteer time. But there are rules. Today I was speaking to some people from Brampton who moved here for work. One left her dog in Brampton to be cared for by her boyfriend. Where did the idea that society must provide shelter that allows couples, with pets and who use drugs, without any commitment or responsibility of the people being housed, come from?

small town Ontario
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Justin Trudeau

Give me a break
Reply to  small town Ontario
1 month ago

Why always JT? Where is the County and Ford? Local and nit federal responsibility. Apparently Ford holding back on $$$$$$ received for health care and wanting private care for his cronies. Don’t think that it would change with a PC PM.

Catherine
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Exactly. It’s very odd. I’ve lived in places that don’t allow animals many times. My roommates mom took my cat until I moved. I’ve taken my sisters cat when she lived in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. I also moved to Cobourg because it’s where I could afford. I can’t just demand what I want- otherwise I would have moved closer to the city.

Old Sailor
1 month ago

In my view, the only chance for the successful integration of the 310 Division Street shelter into the community, is by the implementation of an agreement between Cobourg and Northumberland which closely parallels the Whitby and Durham agreement – as recommended by Dr. Hillary Allen and Jeffery Crowley. Whether or not the encampment residents want to fold into this new transition house environment is yet to be determined.

Kathleen
1 month ago

Yes, by all means, we should all thank Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley profusely. For without them, who would have (should have) brought forward Whitby’s common sense agreement by their CAO and town staff to our Cobourg Council?

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) consisting of neighbouring residents, business owners, Town and County staff, police, shelter staff and fire department officials is a Must Have commence sense approach.

What gives me pause is our Council has directed town staff to reach out to the Transition Board so one of them can sit on the Transition Board of Directors as a Liaison member. Who will that be? Will it be a member of Council who is impartial and would represent the interests of the majority of the taxpaying community?

Rational
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Reverend Ellis of St. Andrews/Warming Centre and Chair of the Board of Transition House is leaving Feb 11th to assume the roll of Housing Services Manager Northumberland County. The function of Housing Services is to provide affordable rental housing for those with low to moderate income or special needs. This article explains his change of careers.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/01/25/reverend-neil-ellis-moving-from-st-andrews-church-to-housing-services-manager-with-northumberland-county/

Given Mr. Ellis’ association with the Warming Centre and Transition House, I don’t think it is just a coincidence that this move has been announced just following the purchase of 310 Division.
Notwithstanding that “310” may have some “loose controls” implemented this in my view is window dressing to appease those who are against “310” becoming simply an encampment/warming centre, which I believe is the end game.

Given the initial purpose announced for “310” by the County following its purchase, I believe the “Rules” being put forth will be weakly administered and are window dressing, with a “Super Warming Centre/Transition House evolving.

IMO we are headed for an unacceptable situation in downtown Cobourg.


small town Ontario
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Whereas the NCHC Board of Directors has two Council representatives from County Council; and Whereas advisory group / board appointments are generally for the full term of Council, however, slight changes may be required to accommodate for the Warden, who is elected / appointed annually in December; and Whereas Warden Brian Ostrander submitted his resignation to the NCHC Board of Directors, effective January 23, 2024, leaving a Council representative vacancy; Now Therefore Be It Resolved That County Council, having considered Report 2024-008 ‘Appointment of Council Representative to the Northumberland County Housing Corporation (NCHC) Board of Directors’, hereby removes Warden Brian Ostrander from the NCHC Board of Directors; and Further Be It Resolved That County Council appoint Councillor Mandy Martin to the NCHC Board of Directors, effective immediately.”  

I agree. At a recent meeting of Northumberland County Council Councillor Mandy Martin was appointed to the NCHC, Northumberland County Housing Corporation Board of Directors, she is the mayor of the Township of Cramahe, and was Warden of Northumberland County when 310 was purchased. IMO she did not treat the presenters with respect. They presented and simply ask for a pause to think this through. That did not happen. Now presenters are asking for an opportunity, with this agreement, for community integration. What is wrong with this picture? Who is managing Who? Where is Lawrence, Piccini and Cleveland?

Give me a break
Reply to  small town Ontario
1 month ago

Agree that Mandy is not the right person …… her only concern is to protect her turf ….. why does Cobourg have these issues when Port Hope, Brighton and Campbellford not share the County’s homelessness …. NIMBY …. Someone posted that folks are being transported from TO and Oshawa …… maybe we need someone in Cobourg help move some of the encampment folks to PH, Brighton, Colborne and Campbellford …. Close to facilities and support groups like GWC … time for our Cobourg Mayor to stand up at County meetings and support all the Cobourg residents

robRoy
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Are the tax payer’s aware that it costs $136,000 per year to house a person in our jails ? So can we not house the homeless, at a lesser amount . this is a problem in many countries food for thought ?

Kathleen
Reply to  robRoy
1 month ago

There needs to be a redefining of the word, ‘Homeless’.

I dare say the majority of people have no problem at all offering the ‘down on your luck’ homeless people food and shelter. Affordable and clean housing needs to be advocated for these people.

Then there are the un-housed drug addicts. A lot of who have chosen drugs over a roof over their head.
Even the ‘down on their luck’ homeless people don’t want to live near the un-housed drug addicts.

There is little appetite to help those people that refuse to help themselves. And even though their has been no actual survey done that I’m aware of, it seems that most of our ‘homeless’ fall under the latter category.

The Drug Addict Advocates are making things worse. Why don’t they pool their money toward Rehab rather than Firewood!?! Talk about money going up in Smoke!!

Rational
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

I agree defining “Homeless” is key.

Why can’t Cobourg Council instruct staff to prepare a By Law which defines “Homeless” persons as it pertains to Cobourg; and administer this By Law as a qualification for any funding and housing support. The “Cobourg’s Homeless By Law” would exclude drug addicts that do not want to get help to get off drugs – i.e. the Encampment People.

This is the Resident’s Town. We don’t have to follow everyone else’s lead. We have rights too; and need Leaders who believe that and stand up for us.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,
Good idea.
However “homelessness”, mental/medical health and social services are all COUNTY responsibilities. A Cobourg by-law sounds good but there is no way to enforce it.
Perhaps Cobourg Council could pass a motion directing the Mayor (Cobourg’s rep on County Council) to do as you suggest.

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

So the County then has authority to decide or overrule what By Laws a municipality can have and enforce? Doesn’t seem right.

Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,
You wrote: “ prepare a By Law which defines “Homeless” persons as it pertains to Cobourg” Anything to do with “homelessness” is the County’s responsibility. Any actions taken by Cobourg that tread on County turf will be ignored.
Further, “as a qualification for any funding and housing support. “Cobourg has no authority or control over County funding, spending or housing support.

LC would have to sell this to other County mayors to get a majority weighted vote. Perhaps PH and ??

Catherine
Reply to  robRoy
1 month ago

A lot of that cost is bureaucracy. There’s a lot of people at the top making a lot of money. There’s plenty of money to solve this problem- they’d just have to do some shuffling of bureaucracy and let a lot of people with inflated salaries doing almost nothing go. That’s literally our biggest problem in canada. Lots of money but it’s going to the wrong places. There’s no incentive to solve any of this.

Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

That sounds reasonable Marilyn.

What is to prevent Cobourg from doing just what other Municipalities have done and hire a bus and transport the encampment people elsewhere? Not a solution but what is to prevent future carloads of transients from being dropped off here again and again? Are we the new Homelessness Mecca?

Nikki
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

As long as there are services available to the drug addicts they will not relocate. Unfortunately Cobourg has all the services they need. We can yip and yap all we want about the various ways this is pissing us off but at the end of the day many people in the community make their livelihoods off of the backs of the addicted (ie. drug dealers, NGO’s like GW, any number of health services offered by NHH, people who operate the various methadone clinics … you get the point) and have a vested interest in keeping this snake eating its tail. The people of Cobourg do not need to be victims; take a look at what other communities in Canada are doing in the way of neighborhood patrols (unarmed of course b/c we are law abiding people) and take the damn Town back from the edge of the chasm.

Marilyn
1 month ago

I think once the new transition house is open, the people illegally camping at Brookside should be served with a notice to vacate by a certain date, otherwise they face the risk of their tents and other items being removed. It might seem harsh, but it is time for this encampment to end, especially if they are being offered options.

Mrs Bigley
1 month ago

l am concerned about-tsome all of the tent city folks not wanting to be part of Transition House – due to rules – thus we will still have the problem of a tent city – or will there be a mandatory rule that the tent city folks must become part of the new facility? Otherwise we will still be facing the past problems, also is there a concern that this new facility will attract more shelter folks from other areas coming to our town.?

Marilyn
Reply to  Mrs Bigley
1 month ago

You can’t force people to go any where. I don’t think you can not build a shelter because you are concerned that people from other areas will come here. We already have homeless people from other areas in the encampment.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago
Marilyn
Reply to  small town Ontario
1 month ago

I didn’t say you can’t close down the encampment, I was referring to the fact that you can’t force people to move to the transition house or a drug rehabilitation centre. If you read my other comment you will see that I said they need to be issued a notice with a date that they must vacate.

Sonya
Reply to  Marilyn
1 month ago

They will have to vacate the property when 310 is open. 310 division street complies with the Waterloo decision. Whether the encampment people go to 310 or not, the encampment will be dismantled.

Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Many towns have trouble filling their shelters. Will Cobourg’s 310 Division be different?

https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/more/nova-scotia-minister-frustrated-that-unhoused-people-are-snubbing-halifax-shelter-1.6742222

Sonya
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Cobourgs 310 won’t be any different.

Give me a break
1 month ago

Just saying ….. Given that Mayor Cleveland supported and voted for this agreement can I suggest that he presents the proposal at the next County Board meeting and gets the other mayors to agree ….. you never know if Port Hope or Brighton ever get to have a “transition house” type shelter being considered in their towns ….. god forbid if homeless folks decide to setup an encampment in their towns ….. will 310 have secure storage facilities for the folks to bring over their belongings? Once they have to leave at 8 am …. Then what ….. can they leave their belongings at 310? When will the County provide a report of homelessness as they do in Belleville area …… with no local newspaper folks are not getting news about what is happening in town aside from social media ….

Doug Weldon
1 month ago

Transition House has set out to follow its mandate to provide short and long term housing for homeless people. The location of any such residence brings social issues and petty crime to the surrounding area. Policing is not the responsibility of the Transition House staff.
Who should be responsible ? The first place to look is to our local Police. But, they look at the ‘Neighbourhood Issues’ as just a series of petty irritants. Arrests are seen as a waste of time for local courts. No one goes to jail for defecating in their neighbourhood, shooting up illegal drugs, stealing shopping carts, stealing ‘free’ bicycles etc., or even for wandering into homes to see what can be found. The police would need a dozen new Police Officers and 10 more cells to handle the daily turn over. The courts will not put any of these people in jail for any of these crimes. That is the cause of ALL current homeless problems.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE ! We can blame the local police. They do not hold the solution.

In Canada currently any level of government can address social issues. Our excellent Health Care System, thanks to Lester Pearson and Tommy Douglas made that happen. Social programs are run by provinces with funding from both Federal & Provincial governments and sometimes local funding.

So, what is the solution to homelessness ? We need Federal or Provincial governments to step in, together. Doug Ford is only interested in Developers and people with money but Justin Trudeau could sure use a big idea to get his credibility back. How about a Nation Wide Program ? Reach out to all Provinces to work together. NATION WIDE !

The solution that I see involves local police forces but with proper laws and financial support. and the power to place the homeless/drug addicts in a secure rehab centre.If someone is found drugged and breaking the law in a minor way then they could be legally ‘Confined’ in a Drug Rehab facility. Confined – until they show some progress – and brought back if they relapse. These facilities should be well funded and well run. With good psychiatric and social counselling and everything needed.
Brookside is sitting right next to Cobourg’s homeless community. Let’s get started.

Dave
Reply to  Doug Weldon
1 month ago

Doug – You overlook the fact that Federal Laws make it impossible to move people out of encampments otherwise Toronto and Vancouver would be much more proactive about it. I wrote to Justin Trudeau with regard to the drug addicted homeless. The response I got was there needs to be more affordable housing built. i wrote back and stating I was writing with regard to drug addicted homeless and the fact they are unable to maintain properties, responsibly pay their rent etc. and asked for a further reply. No reply – Doug Ford is as restricted as anyone else in political office to deal with this problem due to the Liberal policies and laws. Due to the Federal Liberal laws you can’t force anyone into rehab nor confine them and rehabs are not a Liberal priority. No matter what kind of threat, nuisance they are on the rest of a community.

Poilievre has challenged Trudeau in Parliament extolling how great a rehab in Winnipeg, one of the few existing for the general public and asking why he does not build more. Trudeau simply doesn’t want to hear it just as he said he was not responsible for contributing to the building of housing until Poilievre brought it up to him repeatedly and Trudeau checked his poll numbers. Then he made a token effort to add to the building stock but continues to flood the country with both legal and illegal immigrants despite the drastic state the housing market in all aspects is in. The papers say today if there was an election the poll numbers indicate 50% of all Federal Liberal MPs would find themselves out of a seat. The Provincial leaders have tried to have meetings with Trudeau to no avail and even his own party wants him gone – however he is only the tip of the iceberg – the whole Liberal party needs to go.

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Thanks for the reply. I guess what I was trying to say is : Our laws don’t work. Make it illegal to carry, use, sell illegal drugs, steal from back yards, etc. Push/force druggies into rehab programs. But make sure the programs work.
Our prisons don’t rehab people they just incarcerate them. Build a system for drug addicts that has a good chance of working. Provide psychiatrists, social programs, work skills etc. Maybe even place them in actual jobs before they are totally released. This might require a hundred new laws to incarcerate people for simply being a wasted drug addict. But that could mean a better life for them and a better life for everyone around them.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Doug Weldon
1 month ago

I’m OK with “just incarcerate them” as our community will be safe.

Dave
Reply to  Doug Weldon
1 month ago

Hi Doug – As I said in another Blog topic I grew up with in an area many years ago that had drug addicts – then it mostly Heroin and also Meth.

Rehab hopefully will convert some to want to change their lives and get off drugs but the desire has to be there. The only ones I knew that quit then were the ones repeatedly incarcerated. In prison they came to realize this was going to be their life unless they quit drugs. It also held them criminally responsible for their acts which is lacking greatly today.

Prisons with attendant sentences – that needs to be a big part of the conversation as well Although I heartily agree with you Rehabs need to be built – ones that do not allow illegal drug use with programs. Perhaps coming up for sentence they could be offered the choice of prison or rehab unless it is repeat offender than no choice prison it is.

Ben Burd
Reply to  Doug Weldon
1 month ago

Transition House has set out to follow its mandate to provide short and long term housing for homeless people.”

Check this out I do not believe that TH has any other mandate than to provide short term shelter.

That is the problem here you can expand TH as much as you like the situation of the homeless will still be there as the provision of short term supportive housing is nowhere on the horizon.

As to the inaction of the province in sending money to fix the homeless problem I think that all concerned (Mr Piccini especially) in this mess find it convenient to leave the encampment alone – after all if they did bulldoze the place where would the campers move to – back to your garden sheds and the numerous woods in the Town. That would produce far more complaints from the public than they get now!

Downtowner
Reply to  Ben Burd
1 month ago

Agree Ben, Transition House is that…a shelter to transition to more permanent housing, perhaps with support.Considering that the present T. H. Location has many vacancies, you are correct it can grow all it wants but will not touch the larger issue…lack of affordable housing. l , for one, would consider the repurposing of 310 Division into permanent rent receiving units a wiser use of the building . The folks from the camp will most likely not be lining up to enter because of the perception of punitive control of their way of life. Might as well get good use for this investment

Sonya
Reply to  Ben Burd
1 month ago

The lack of affordable housing should be blamed entirely on the federal government. Lack of affordable housing is in every province in Canada.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Well I think that we all agree with what the Town, County and all of Councils Experts ,
Have been feeding us for months about Mental health conditions of these street people as well
the Street people tell us about the Trauma they have experienced , mental health issues that they them selves deal with and fall back on as their excuse for living these lives That are obviously not Agreeable or acceptable to either side of society .
SOOOO as we all agree that Mental health , Drugs etc etc are the problem
then as a society lets do the best thing and start making decisions of all degrees necessary
on be half of these people that obviously can not take the correct measures or make decisions
for them selves or that are in their own best interests . Use the Mental Health Act
and Act upon it

Kevin
1 month ago

What a mess. There is no reason to believe 310 Division will be acceptable for all the members of the encampment. The new facility might open and we will still have the problem at Brookside. Infrastructure Ontario, I think ‘owns’ the property, has not evicted the campers. Will that change once 310 Division opens? Of the 5 properties owned by one landlord and used as rooming houses 2 have been closed with work being done by new owners at one property. Will more of these properties be closed putting more people on the streets?

Drug addicts will all end up in one of 3 situations. They will recover, with help, and have a somewhat normal life. They will continue to use drugs resulting in more health problems and requiring more support just to stay alive. Or they will overdose and die relatively quickly. Fentanyl is so strong use will not be long-term. Become clean or die are the outcomes.

There is more than enough evidence to suggest there will be problems in the area of 310 Division. Every week I hear stories about how upset Cobourg residence are the police either do nothing or are not capable of doing anything to reduce drug related crime. Months ago copper ground wires were cut from the hydro poles on my street, likely to sell for scrap. No repairs have been made. It seems some people just accept the behaviour of drug addicts as the new normal. If we have private security, like the Whitby agreement, will they end up like our police? If so we can expect drug related crime to increase with more drug users being housed at 310 Division. Private security will not be able to stop it and may become as complacent as our police seem to be.

Keep in mind the Whitby shelter has not opened and there is a phase 2 with unknown plans.

The only solution for drug users is to get them off drugs.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Has anyone considered if 310 Division is transitioned to a shelter and few choose to use it what guardrails are in place to prevent this being a future burden to the Cobourg / County taxpayer?

Is there a backup plan in place for this building to be used for other purposes or keep it as a Senior’s residence, if this occurs?
Cobourg has one of the largest Senior populations in Canada. Maybe this demographic should be considered in the planning efforts of the shelter idea if it is not well received by the homeless.

A few reasons people don’t want to live in a shelter is: 1. Being told when they can come and go, 2. Many rules, 3. Lack of privacy, 4. Can’t have their pet there.

What if as part of this planning process they opened a volunteer run free pet clinic for people from the encampment, and as part of this free service folks had to stay at 301 Division for a few day?
Maybe as part of this service we might actually get folks in there…

People living in poverty have challenges accessing mental health care services and pet care.

Seniors living in poverty also need support so let’s have a backup plan in place so 310 Division doesn’t sit empty. If it does, then what?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Has anyone considered if 310 Division is transitioned to a shelter and few choose to use it what guardrails are in place to prevent this being a future burden to the Cobourg / County taxpayer?

My understanding is that the 310 Division property was purchased for about $2.4M. The county spends (mostly wastes?) about $30M each year on “services” for the unfortunate so a total write-off of 310 Division is less than 10% of a single year’s welfare budget. Or only a tiny fraction of the cost overrun for the new Golden Plough. Don’t fret over details; consider things in the context of Northumberland County’s proven incompetence!

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Lets not forget the Millions lost on the Grafton Recycle Plant and Agri business in Colbore . The part that concerns me is the B S that they expect us to believe
about the capacity of 310 if operated at some form of Peak Occupancy
Performance or Capacity then this property will hold 3 times the number of people ( 40 ) they are suggesting So what is it Underutilization again or BS .
Its more housing we are after is it not ???????????

Kathleen
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Can you believe the amount the County paid for that place!!!??? It requires tons of revamping and has zero parking. The place beside it is only being offered for a $1M.

Rob
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

I’m hearing there are ~ 6 encampers remaining – has anyone heard differently? The last of holdouts, living on $24,000 in GoFundMe money? The GoFundMe description says 25 people require shelter…I wonder if GoFundMe would be interested in this information?

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob,
Who is “running” the GoFundMe site?
GWC?
Is someone just pocketing the money?

There are internet scams (fraud) that operate this way.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

I’m unsure if this is a fraud or someone who is misguided and wants to encourage illegal drug usage.

The GoFundMe page says that Jenni Frenke is organizing the fundraiser for the criminals at Brookside. Jenni was a proponent for the shantytown drug haven a year ago. The website for the Living Well Movement Centre at 271 Spring Street (https://www.livingwellmovement.ca/instructors.html) has the following info about Ms Frenke:

Jenni has been a yoga practitioner for 16 years, she holds a CYA-RYT 250 certification including courses in pre and post-natal yoga and trauma informed yoga. She has a passion for teaching slow flow yoga and Metta meditation. Jenni uses yoga and meditation daily to find relief for her symptoms from post-concussion syndrome, and it is this practice that inspired her to teach yoga and help others. When not practicing yoga, Jenni loves to volunteer and spend time with her husband, two energetic young kids and dogs.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Ken,

Given the $24K+ involved and the few (6?) remaining encampment people, i wonder about the disposition of the funds.
I am not familiar with GoFundMe’s policies/practices regarding the use of the funds raised for the purposes claimed. Do the contributors get some sort of “accounting”? Has Ms. Frenke issued any statements about the “fund”, it’s expenses and remaining monies?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

I’m also curious but I have no information on the workings of GoFundMe.

Looking at their website things seem pretty nebulous:

Giving Guarantee

We guarantee you a full refund in the rare case something isn’t right

Protection for an entire year

Donations of any amount are covered for one full year after you donate.

Every fundraiser is covered

Whether you donate to a fundraiser for a person or a nonprofit, you’re protected.

Worldwide coverage

Your donation is protected, wherever you donate from.

You’re covered by our money-back donor protection guarantee.

You are making the world a better place for someone every time you give. We believe it’s our responsibility to protect your kindness by protecting

your donation.

Donate with peace of mind.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Ken,

My reading of this “donor protection” stuff is that if it is determined that the donations were not used for the purposes claimed then GFM guarantees that the donation will be refunded. I assume this is complaint driven and that GFM does not pro-actively review the fund seekers.

This leads back to my question about Ms. Frenke’s administration of these donated funds.

Coburger
1 month ago

Whitby residents who are in need of sheltering services are a priority to be sheltered

A key component of the agreement — verified residents of Northumberland, and specifically Cobourg should have first priority.

Sonya
Reply to  Coburger
1 month ago

Yes this is a must. We all know now that carloads of homeless have been driven to Cobourg and dropped off from Toronto, oshawa and more. This has been witnessed by many.

Concerned Citizen
1 month ago

I read the letter submitted by Dr Allen and J. Crowley. It was compassionate, honest and intelligent. COSIC makes a valuable contribution to this community. They have gone to great lengths to create an attractive, productive business on Division Street. Many businesses in Cobourg have done the same. However the businesses and homeowners in the vicinity of this new “low barrier” hostel, have much to lose if this facility is not managed properly. We all know there is a huge societal problem going on in Cobourg. If this has to be done, let’s do it right by learning from the mistakes of other communities. By all means, help the working poor, low income seniors and children, who will be appreciative of the assistance this facility would provide. Let’s not allow the addicts to destroy our town and neighbourhoods anymore than they have already. One only needs to drive by Brookside to see what these people can do to a property. Please Cobourg Council do your very best to protect the hard working citizens and contributors of this community.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Concerned Citizen
1 month ago

I feel sorry for this group of Professionals
weather they are Drs , Lawyers , Spa owner etc they are self employed business people
trying to Eek out a living in this area
Their own property next door to 310 was up for sale and has since undergone several server price reductions in an attempt to sell before the Real Effect of the Half way house is full open
Not to mention the impact 310 is having and will continue to have on Property Values and Business through out the Walkable Down Town Core .
So Who does the County and the Town Consider as the REAL STAKE HOLDERS
in this mess
May be the Mayors Office & Councils Experts can answer this for us all

small town Ontario
Reply to  Concerned Citizen
1 month ago

Agree, and hard working tax paying citizens are being left behind.

Seth
Reply to  Concerned Citizen
1 month ago

What I love is how passionate people are on this blog. I really like living in Cobourg and want to help keep it safe and affordable. As concerned citizens what can we do to guide Cobourg’s future? I feel like with so many of us there must be some sort of action plan that we can create. Aside from voting, calling elected officials and letter writing is there something that we can do, for example form a community advocacy group?

Downtowner
1 month ago

I, for one, have the utmost respect and gratitude toward Dr. Allen and Jeff Crowley for their compassionate and thorough presentation to County. The letter considers both area residents and business owners and those in need of the assistance being prepared.l say being prepared because l am hopeful that the County is not going to proceed in a slap dash effort as was previously done when the lowered barriers were dropped into our neighbourhood. It was a “here is the funding, now work it out” effort with little structure or format that has struggled for five years. Housing first has been a disappointing program and now is the time to learn from the failures and improve the work to help and house with professionals and staff with stronger training in this area. I recognize the value of gaining a potentially more suitable venue for this work but having had a loved one who resided in the previous assisted living application at this site , question the suitability for families in need…the units are not really suited for such and in my opinion may already exclude a faction of our unhoused without some renovation to units which will downsize the number of clients that could be welcomed or have them stacked closely together as 10 Chapel does.The lounge area isn’t as large as the warming hub is now…and no parking.
Improvement on the present Transition House…perhaps…a quick decision with a high price tag and likely not everything hoped for…time will tell.

cornbread
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Is there a method in which this facility with all the approved rules & regulation, if it turns out to be “less than managed” and a “negative to the community” that it can be closed down and not re-opened for the same purpose.

Downtowner
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

I have no idea..but if the future shows that once again Transition House proves unable to be a good,friendly fit to the neighbourhood (basically the same neighbourhood presently negatively impacted) and fails to make positive inroads in the crisis gripping our community perhaps finally good reason could prevail and true professional people with experience could be employed to address the three problems ..mental health, drug addiction, and homelessness, separately,as they should be, as each present different challenges.
Without a change in the operating procedures at the present T.H.it will have the same difficulties being accepted among residents and businesses.
Isn’t t the definition of crazy..doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?
Housing all of these issues together as one has so far not proven effective….and now the County proposes adding the warming hub into the mix as well hmmm l think l see a repeat of a problem.

Downtowner
Reply to  Downtowner
1 month ago

Add to above….adding more tents to a tent city as relief is just that….crazy