Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Local Grandmother Facing Homelessness

Letter to the Editor

Editor,

As sunset rolls into darkness and darkness fades into light the reality has come that I am going to be homeless. 850 individuals/families are on a waiting list, but the families with children are more likely to be approved before single people.

This has caused many sleepless nights knowing that I will be another statistic in the homelessness in Grey County.

I receive support from the Y Housing but affordable rent here in Meaford you will not find. Houses are $1,500 -$1,800 plus and apartments no better than what I am living in, so we have no choice we have to settle just to have a roof over our head, there is no other place to go.

Homeless doesn’t always mean living on the street, it’s sleeping on friends’ and family’s couches, and unfortunately the owners of these rentals use this because they know of the lack of affordable housing.

Meaford and the mayor of this town need to step up and address this issue in a community that cares. The words the mayor said to me were, “It’s time to start caring.”

Twenty percent of employees in Grey County need more than one job to pay their bills. Seventy percent on low income spend more than 50% on housing, but that does not include utility bills in our area alone 80% on housing. That kind of stress puts a strain on them causing depression, domestic abuse, and the worst part is the effect on children. They don’t do well in school knowing food at home is limited or they miss school because there isn’t enough and if they have siblings they choose who goes to school that day.

My apartment was condemned by the landlord on February 28 of this year. The roof leaked causing major structural damage and the leak came into the walls causing black mould. Even in those conditions I am not approved for emergency housing in Meaford at Victoria Village.

There are six empty units available now which have been vacant for over two years. Grey Housing has said they don’t rent to single people. There are single people who rent three bedroom units in there for over 25 years.

There is a saying when one door closes another one opens but in my situation not even a crack. I own two dogs which are well known, Wally and Daisy. I will have to make arrangements to board them because my dogs are my life and they’re part of the family. I will not have my grandchildren or myself say goodbye to these dogs that are loved.

I have a wonderful job that God has blessed me with, a job that I love to go to every day. My job is very important to me but Grey Housing doesn’t care about that. Eventually I will have to quit my job. Y Housing will pay for two nights accommodation and give me some food vouchers. Since I won’t have an address I will not receive $680 Ontario Works cheque but I will receive $300 homeless cheque.

So this is an open face letter to the Town of Meaford, a community that cares and especially to Grey Bruce Housing to please reconsider your decision. I have a lot at stake here and no one seems to care.

My right as a Canadian is that I deserve a safe and healthy place to live. Nothing is ever etched in stone. Rules can be broken especially when it come to human dignity.

Thank you,

Lori Brooks, Meaford

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