Homelessness advocate stresses need for supports

June 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

A local advocate for homelessness spoke before Council on Monday (June 28) to highlight the urgency of getting men’s shelter services operational locally.

Terrance Carter of Carters Law, who supports the Lighthouse, which is a daily community meal program, noted that he’s grateful for Council’s sensitivity and concern with regard to men’s homelessness but time is running out.

“There is an urgent need for a men’s emergency shelter in Orangeville as soon as possible. I have been advocating for this on and off for the past seven years but to no avail. Subsequent to my delegation to Town Council at the end of April of this year in support of the formation of the Mayor’s Committee on Men’s Homelessness, I have had a number of additional encounters with men who are homeless,” said Carter.

“As a case in point, when I arrived at my office on Broadway early this morning, which is Saturday, I found a man, who I have written to you about before, sleeping outside the front door of my office.”

Carter said he gave him a cup of coffee, which he was happy to receive.

“As I have done on numerous occasions with this man, as has the Mayor and others, I offered to put his belongings into storage and provide him with a motel room, particularly given that it will be raining all weekend,” he recalled. “He declined both offers but did ask if he could stay under the overhang of the front of our office, as it provides him with shelter from the rain this weekend. I said of course he could. It was the least I could do. As such, this man will more than likely be parked under the overhang of my office on Broadway as shelter from the rain on and off for the next few days with my permission.”

Carter noted that this man’s situation is unique in that he doesn’t want to accept help, however there are several men who he’s encountered on Broadway in the last eight months that are looking for a men’s emergency shelter that they can access 24/7.

“Men’s homelessness in Orangeville is an acute problem and needs an acute solution. The time for discussion and studies is over. I am therefore asking that the Mayor’s Special Committee on Homelessness be made operational as soon as possible and that the first order of business be the establishment of a men’s emergency shelter in Orangeville this year and before the weather turns cold,” said Carter.

He added that his comments aren’t meant to criticize anyone but rather emphasize the that the problem is a pressing one and the time to build a shelter in Orangeville is now.

In response to Carter’s presentation, Mayor Brown said he’s in full support of getting something in place before the snow falls.

He also expressed his gratitude for all the work Carter is doing to address the problem.

“Thank you for your advocacy, because you have certainly been a driving force here on this subject for a number of years and we appreciate all of your work that you’ve put forward,” Mayor Brown noted. “Your continuing assistance with the lighthouse soup kitchen as landlord and assistance to that organization as well, so thank you.”

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