Unhoused campers behind the Montreal Street Integrated Care Hub will be allowed to stay where they are over the winter, and some of them clearly hope to stay there past the city council’s eviction deadline. at the end of March. But that doesn’t mean life is easy for them.
Todd Timpany considers himself one of the first homeless residents of the integrated care center to set up a tent near the property on Montreal Street in 2020.
“My tent was big enough. I had the biggest tent there, but it was my home for almost a year,” Timpany said.
The 47-year-old lost his job when the downtown restaurant he worked for closed just before the pandemic hit. He then struggled to find a job as the world went into lockdown.
“I had nowhere to go and it was easier to stay in a tent, so I decided to camp,” he said.
Dumping and theft persist in Amherstview, Ont. charity building
Alberta dad learns of his son’s death in Victoria after Googling his name and finding the obituary
Timpany had already started working for the hub 25 hours a week doing maintenance, cleaning and troubleshooting before settling down along the K&P trail.
After living in a tent for a year, he now regularly sleeps inside the ICH.
Although he is grateful for the hub’s support, living in a large encampment almost cost him his life.
“I broke my head against the pavement and cut it pretty badly – 27 staples,” he said. “I basically… had to relearn how to do it all over again and they helped me every step of the way.”
The ICH parking lot also recently became the home of Mike Baumhour, 61, and his daughter, Sarah Shea, 33. The two have been living in their car since December 21. Both are receiving ODSP benefits and have been homeless since moving out of their last apartment.
“It’s so difficult these days because the rent is so high,” Baumhour said.
Baumhour and Shea found an apartment with help from Basic Housing, but Baumhour says the landlord is holding it for them until Feb. 1, when they say they can pay the $260 deposit.
“They expect us to live on the bare minimum and we literally have to choose: (do we) live for shelter? Or (do we want) food?” Shea said.
Timpany, Shea and Baumhour say the answer to the homelessness crisis starts with affordable housing. Until then, a roof over their head is never a guarantee.
© 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.