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Can we fix this soon?

Letter from a Downtown Business re Safety Concerns:

A real community debate has emerged from this latest post on CobourgNews. The 94 comments, (as at 0945hrs 20th March) reveal a few common threads. The prevailing opinion by looking at the ‘thumbs’ up or down, is that the hardline taxfighters (clean ’em up people) on the Board are in the majority of the thumbs up and the ‘bleeding hearts (BH)’ get the thumbs down. Although we suspect that because the ‘BHs’ have the courage to sign their real names their names get voted down not their comments.

First of all we at the BurdReport have to say that this topic is the most frustrating topic we have discussed ever; because there is no consensus for solution and the commenters, as usual do not agree and fail to see all sides.

  • On one side we have the “clean ’em up” gang which would have the authorities sweep them out of public areas with no suggestion of what to do with them when they are swept up.
  • Then you have the “get them out of my face” gang who just want Cobourg to be restored to the idyllic place it never was and what the “Toronto Refugees” thought they were buying into – a fairy tale Town.
  • And then you get the “I am sympathetic but it is not Cobourg’s problem” bunch.
  • As well we have the most frustrated group; “I have been affected, I really want to help but don’t know how”.
  • Finally we get the “realists” – “we have a big problem, Cobourg is not interested in initiating any programmes to help, the Province is not helping in any way so all we do is get angry at all the non-responses of others.”
  • Then you have the terrible response, from the Mayor of Cobourg, to the delegations who want Cobourg to do something – “Don’t come to see us, it is not our problem to solve – go see the County!”

So where does all this energy go?

We do know that the both the Cobourg Police Services (CPS) and the County Social Services (NCSS) have sucked up wads of money to help with this problem, what has been achieved really hasn’t been communicated wel, if at all, to the Community.

We do know that band-aid solutions have been proposed – a couple of warming centres, a proposed ‘tiny-home’ solution but nothing permanent. The local shelter (Transition House (TH)), run by a volunteer Board and funded by the County has two problems, one is a leadership problem and the other is that it doesn’t help all of the people with homelessness situations. Some people have been banned for not following the rules at TH. These people live on the streets and are blamed for a whole host of problems.

What we also know is that there is no simple answer, suggestions to “ship them out”, “move them on” are just gut reactions to the sad situation. The people who just say this should be challenged to go the next step and decide on a solution, either help them or continue to step over them when they want to use the Banks.

This is a complicated situation involving the problems of addiction, mental health issues and homelessness. All contribute to the big problem of ‘street people’. So to solve one of the three issues mentioned will still leave troubled people on the streets but we also know that relieving homelessness goes a long way to being able to treat the other problems.

An accepted solution is to establish a ‘wraparound’ solution – relieve homelessness and give access to mental health clinic and addiction services. But this costs money and the present Provincial Government is cutting healthcare services not expanding them.

That brings us back to the County, after all they have the resposibility to supply services to the indigent and social services to those who need it. In the short term they should be demanding money from the Province to fund ‘wraparound’ locations and attendant services. An obvious location is the soon to be vacated Golden Plough Lodge.

But what can be done in the short run? The BurdReport would love to see the vitriol aimed at the people who make people feel uncomfortable, or just make Cobourg feel unsafe or even offend those who have see the street people, redirected by the taxfighters, who don’t want Cobourg taxes to pay for any solution just get mad at the people who can fix this – Doug Ford’s Provincial Government. After all most of them probably voted for him.

Follow the advice given by a commenter called Bryan:

  • Town residents are rightly concerned for the plight of the “homeless”. Nonetheless, it is not Cobourg’s problem
  • The Province and the County need to stepped up now.
  • Write, email, phone Dougie and Piccini. Keep kicking their asses until they take serious action and deal with this problem

Well said Bryan!

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