A group in Creston is concerned about the town’s homeless population as winter approaches.
A delegation from the United Church attended a town council meeting, where they expressed their concern for those living on the street in the colder months.
Mayor Arnold DeBoon says they estimate about ten people are living without homes in Creston.
Unfortunately, not much can be done by council in this case.
“It goes back to what the community in general wants to do to help because it’s a community issue, not a town council issue,” he said.
“So, we discussed the idea that volunteers will have to organize to possibly set up a shelter, a site, or a warming centre where they are safer and out of the weather.”
In such a case, DeBoon says volunteers will be responsible for monitoring behavior, cleaning bathrooms, and other such work.
“There are often social and behavioral issues that come with being unhoused that they’ll need help with. And if there are unruly persons that are in an approved shelter, they will have to abide by the rules. So there has to be a concentrated effort from our community to kind of establish a way to deal with the homeless in a better way than we’re dealing with them now.”
Unfortunately, DeBoon says Creston currently does not have any shelter or program to assist and it could be a long road to get one.
“It’s going to take a while and some community consultation, but at this point the town is willing to assist in this, by helping get grant money because this should be funded and administered by the provincial government.”
DeBoon says that in other communities, the provincial government has provided some funding to help with the situation.
He says they will need to work with the provincial government to get the homeless community a safe, warm shelter for wintertime.
“And it’s not going to be easy, because at this point, we don’t have a shelter and we don’t have anything that would comply with all the building codes that we need.”
However, DeBoon hopes that in the interim, they would look for the town to come together to help provide funding for overnight stays in hotels, motels, or some other place that’s warm during the worst nights.
“The people that came and spoke to us are willing to get the ball rolling on this. And, as a town, we’re willing to provide our assistance and provide help in searching for funding.”
“As we work on this, we hope to show that we’re as compassionate a community as any other.”