Sleeping Cabin Engagement and Governance Report

At Council’s 28 February Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, Council were asked to approve that Sleeping Cabins could be put in the parking lot of the Memorial Arena on Furnace Street. Concerned about public approval and how these would be managed, Council asked the organizers to report back at the April 3rd CoW meeting on their public engagement and their governance. To comply with this, the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective (NSCC) will be presenting their 33 page report at that CoW meeting. No surprise, it is strongly supportive of the proposal and reads as a professional report selling the idea. The report lists community and stakeholder engagements and the results of a survey indicating support and includes a description of planned Governance. An open house was held at Cobourg Library on March 21 with 80 people attending.

See the full report in Resources below – but here is a summary.

Engagement

The NSCC report gives extensive detail of their engagement with the public in the period October 2022 to March 2023. They list 2000 contacts – mostly where they have explained their project with minimal reporting on what the community is saying to them.   These were not only Cobourg but also Port Hope.  The one exception to this is the “digital survey” which got 158 responses, 118 of these from Cobourg. (It’s not known how this was advertised. It was not on “Engage Cobourg” nor announced by the Town – so participants could well be biased).

Digital survey responses

  • 68% Support Furnace Street as a location
  • 79% Support Sleeping Cabins in Cobourg
  • 96% Agree that Cobourg needs more affordable Housing and Shelter

Note that NSCC is asking for approval for 6 months but seemed to think it will go beyond that with perhaps a move to another unspecified location.

Governance

NSCC is a special project of Green Wood Coalition (GWC) which is a street level organization operating in Port Hope and Cobourg (Northumberland more broadly) since 2009.
GWC is managing all finances including budgets, donations, tax receipts, and fund distribution. They are the legal entity of the project and will manage all governance, insurance and signing of any required contracts. (See page 18 for the names of the GWC Board and staff).

There are a set of policies that include self-governance by residents: “It is crucial that potential residents understand the participatory nature of this housing model and that they will be required to actively engage in its success.” The way tenants are chosen and will behave is specified.

The following basic rules will apply to the village community:

  1. I will not commit violence.
  2. I will not persist in disruptive behaviour.
  3. I respect each person’s property and the property of the village–I will not steal or damage property.
  4. I will contribute to the operation and maintenance of the village and attend bi-weekly village meetings.
  5. I will treat others with respect regardless of beliefs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and background.
  6. I will be a positive member of this community and surrounding neighborhood making it a safe, secure and pleasant place to live.

Summary by NSCC

The most common concern we’ve heard is about community safety. We acknowledge this concern and have created a FAQ to provide a response to address  …. many of the concerns we’ve received.

FAQs

The NSCC report includes nine pages of FAQs with 25 questions answered. These provide the best explanation of the planned project. LINK HERE – FAQs start on page 25. If you want to understand the project, reading these is the quickest way.

Summaries of Statements

Extracted from a report on Today’s Northumberland – full details in link below.  These relate to the Overdose protection tents.

MPP David Picinni
What is being proposed in Cobourg is outside of the continuum of care; and, not being done in collaboration with health care and social service partners. This is both concerning and counterproductive to our shared goals.

Mayor Lucas Cleveland
I do not in any way support this project as it is currently being run or the means in which it was implemented. I am confident that many residents in this community will not either. I am not against the use of safe consumption sites per se, I am however, 100% against this type of illegal activity. I can not and will not support illegal activity no matter how it is framed or justified just because there are some individuals in the community who are unwilling to do the required work and/or don’t have the patience to make changes through the appropriate and legal channels.

Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf
We do not arrest individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs alone, focusing on more serious cases raising public safety concerns.
Supporting harm reduction approaches like supervised consumption and treatment sites in communities can help prevent overdoses and increase access to health and social services. Establishing these sites must be done in a conscientious manner that does not result in unintended consequences negative to communities in terms of criminal activity.

This subject has by far had the most engagement on this news blog. There seems to be a majority with the following views:

  • There seems to be a connection between homeless and drug addiction – it’s not clear that solving the homeless problem will lead to the drug addiction problem being solved.
  • Some homeless people are harassing citizens in the streets and thereby harming downtown business. People, especially unescorted women, are reluctant to venture out, especially at night and downtown. So far, there have been no reports of actual assault.
  • A majority feel that something must be done but are unsure what this should be – except that it should be lawful and follow existing procedures. The tents behind All Creatures Great and Small and in Victoria Park do not seem to be lawful.
  • The Police and Town do not appear to be doing anything. Police seem to say that so far they have not had calls asking them to do anything specific – and no actionable crimes have been committed.

It will be interesting to see what action Council takes on this subject on April 3. It will also be interesting to see which way the votes go. Note that whatever the vote, ratification at the Regular Council meeting a week later is required (Tuesday 11 April).

Resources

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Newbie
10 months ago

Under; “The following basic rules will apply to the village community”, there is no mention of drug use being allowed.

I volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Some elderly and homeless people are afraid to come now…due to outbursts and intimidating behaviours from drug induced behaviours.

If drug use is allowed will seniors or families with small children be deterred from trying to access the cabins?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Newbie
10 months ago

Newbie, see page 27 of the document at https://www.cobourgblog.com/assets/2023/NSCC.CommunityConsultationUpdate.Apr3.pdf

Will residents be able to use drugs and drink alcohol? 

Yes. Just as residents of any home in Northumberland are able to. This is supported housing that will give people the dignity of autonomy over their living situation, it’s not a dry community, and will operate from a harm reduction perspective.

Newbie
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Thank you for the information Ken.

Dignity and autonomy over one’s living situation is very important…but valid concerns over tweaked out behaviours impeding on neighbours autonomy and dignity—this was my point. Again;

If drug use is allowed will seniors or families with small children be deterred from trying to access the cabins?

Transition house has available beds because some people who are homeless refuse to abide by the rules.

Last edited 10 months ago by Newbie
Wally Keeler
10 months ago
Kate
10 months ago

I can see the Memorial Arena from my (rented and barely affordable) house and support it as a location for the cabins.

There seems to be misinformation and confusion/conflation in the comments for this article. Please consider the following:

1) the cabins are one step to reducing barriers for people to improve aspects of their lives; they are an immediate and emergency response to a very real lack of housing in this community (affordable, transitional, or otherwise)

2) the tents are not promoting drug use, they are using a proven harm reduction model to prevent overdoses and providing some humanity and compassion to drug users who are deserving human beings; also note the difference between a Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) and an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS)

3) people with lived experience of using drugs who help others are referred to as peer support, and they are uniquely positioned because they understand the challenges faced by those with addiction or facing homelessness without judgment

4) increased homelessness and drug use are not just Cobourg problems, this is happening everywhere (neighbouring regions and across the province, country and continent), and trying to address it by any means necessary is crucial because it’s getting worse

5) look up information on the impacts of childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to have a better understanding of why some people end up where they do

6) get to know the people we keep referring to who need these supports

7) talk to the police about where the drugs are coming from

8) donate money to organizations who are trying to help those who need it most

Last edited 10 months ago by Kate
Kyle
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

Your #8 is the real driver behind this. A bunch of self appointed frauds who who want to label everyone as some kind of victim. Then they set up their Non Profit and appoint themselves and their cronies as Director and staff and feed off the funds they guilt people out of. They never want it ti end because it would cut off their money.

Kate
Reply to  Kyle
10 months ago

So then don’t donate. No one is forcing you to give them money, but there are plenty of organizations you could donate to that aren’t proponents of the tents nor the sleeping cabins if you don’t support those two ideas that would still help those in need.

marya
10 months ago

Where in Port Hope or in Northumberland “more broadly” are the locations for the proposed Sleeping Cabins and Drug Use Tents? There is nothing in their report, despite these are their designated areas. We are weary about the heavy emphasis always being targeted on Cobourg for the Coalitions’ Projects.

Cobourg resident
Reply to  marya
10 months ago

Because the Port Hope council stands up to them and shuts it down. A lot of people on our current council are right in with this group and lets them do whatever they want. Unfortunately people didn’t pay enough attention to our municipal elections. We had some good candidates running that would have stood up. This is what we got stuck with. Pay attention to your local candidates and what they stand for!!!

marya
Reply to  Cobourg resident
10 months ago

Exactly Cobourg Resident! Sadly, three others for whom we voted did not qualify.

Kevin
10 months ago

If only we had a surplus building, suitable for living in, with bathrooms, kitchens etc. then maybe we would not have to consider this idea at all. As long as the building could house at least 12 people. Ideally more and have space for offices for counselling to help the people in need. The building should be close to services that the residents need like food, the hospital, places to work for the residents that are able to work and public transit. If enough tax payers pressure the county and town maybe they could find such a building. Some readers know I am referring to the Golden Plow. It seems like such a waste to demolition a building that could be a part of the solution to the housing problem. Maybe even move Transition House there. It would get the people using Transition House farther from downtown and certain rooming houses. Add some cells to lock up the residents that refuse to follow rules and are violent. So much potential for relatively little cost and planning. Maybe that is the problem. Our governments like to waste much time planning and not get things done.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
10 months ago

Kevin – Problem is Transition House it is said has available beds unused by the addicts as they state for various reasons they don’t want to go there.
They are allowed to use drugs in the proposed Sleeping Cabin venture without attending any abstinence programs of the wraparound services.
Could end up being an empty shelter just like Transition House. One thing I don’t understand is it is reported there are seniors living in their cars. Presumably they are not using therefore why haven’t they gone to Transition House?? Are the motels Transition House utilizes not filled either?

Kevin
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Dave, good point about the addicts not using available beds. And good question about seniors sleeping in cars. I know of a woman who was sleeping in her car with her 2 dogs. I am not sure her age. She has been getting help through local groups and got into a motel. She is not a drug addict, just drank beer, and apparently was on the list for one of the sleeping cabins. In her case her dogs limited her options.

Rob
Reply to  Kevin
10 months ago

Kevin I hope among the service groups she is accessing are the local human society, dog rescue organizations and animal fostering services. Limiting your options to the point where you are sleeping in your car seems like someone who isn’t making good choices and likely needs some guidance/support

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
10 months ago

Pretty sad state of affairs Kevin. I wonder as I look around, adult young men/women living at home or couch surfing with no desire to work, parenting skill – a child now at 3 1/2 wearing pull up diapers and insist on sleeping with his parents bed, the 30s woman with 2 children – partner ran for the hills as she wouldn’t even so much as take bread from the freezer for his lunch – on benefits now. All unprepared and unwilling to look after themselves or raise their children to do so. I hear the new Federal budget includes dental care at a cost of 40.1 Billion dollars now. Government benefits from birth to age 18 – $6000 to $7200 a year per child. So many more that are unable or want someone to look after them.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Kevin
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Dave, I don’t agree with everything you wrote but I get your point and I think we are in general agreement. People need to take care of themselves if they are able to. Social assistance is there for those who are in real need. A last resort not a first option. I recently saw a sign stating 22% of Canadians have a disability. Many of these people are able to work and do. The ones that are not able to work combined with children and the elderly are putting increasing demands on working age taxpayers. We are going to have to increase the retirement age or import workers. But where will the immigrants live?

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
10 months ago

Kevin there are areas we disagree on. 22% of all Canadians have a disability? One Fifth the population? Must be pretty easy rules. The elderly? Tell that to my father-in-law who lived to age 90. Served from 37 to 45, returned to Canada from British Army – worked for 6 days a week most of his working life, tell that to my father who during the 30s shovelled snow for benefits, lied about the number of children he had in order to be accepted for war service. Worked until the day he died at age 57. The elderly have worked and contributed over a life time. As for children born to people that have never worked who pass along don’t worry, be happy values to their children well what can I say. Your average family today is very well taken care of with Federal benefits starting at $7200 per child, now dental care and iow cost day care. The alcoholic who drinks themselves into poor physical and mental health without seeking help. Canada is becoming a country of sorry losers. I recall you said people on low income/benefits often left your apartments in a sorry state. Anyway we are off topic the subject is sleeping cabins. So I shall wish you a nice day – we fail to agree. Ask not what my country can do for me but what I can do for my country should be a strengthened axiom.
I recall also Kevin in one of your prior posts you stated you were not in favour of affordable housing of any kind as it would raise your property taxes and you said you had worked hard for your house.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Kevin
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Dave, I did work and save so I could buy a house. I am not against affordable housing but it has to be done properly. As people get older then generally require more health care which is an expense to tax payers. Proper dental care in time can save costly dental expenses later. In some ways I agree with dental care being provide but there should be reductions in other areas to offset the costs. The 22% sign was on the door of EARN. EARN helps people with disabilities find jobs. The sign actually stated nearly 1 in 4 Canadians have a disability. That does not mean they all receive benefits. Often, as I was told, depending on the disability, they may be able to work but not always full-time. Part-time work is better than no work for the worker and society.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
10 months ago

I guess we also agree on some things Kevin. Self responsibility.

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get poor Rover a bone, when she got there the cupboard was bare ….. Another 40 Billion given by the Feds supported by Mr. Singh – why have Libs and NDP – one would suffice, either or.

And so I look at the especially Federal goverment polices which encourage dependency. I guess people vote for them because everyone likes a Santa Clause and freebies.

The Greenwood Coalition allowing these cabins to be occupied by people not enrolled in abstinence programs will make them, if allowed, a success as the people will not have to take responsibility for where they are in life and work to change that. Just another look after me theme.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Kyle
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

At one time if there was no work or affordable housing people would move to a new area. If fact they would change continents. Now we have encampments in some of the most expensive areas in the country with self professed advocates demanding resources and compassion for people squatting and terrorizing the community.

Rational
10 months ago

This is a link to the facebook page of Green Wood Coalition. It is an open site so you do not need to be a facebook member to access it.

https://www.facebook.com/greenwoodcoalition/

The first post shows pictures from last nights sponsored presentation by the Green Wood Coalition at Victoria Hall for the filming and subsequent discussion of “Love in the Time of Fentanyl”. Missy McLean (Drug Tent organizer – Covert Street parking lot March 20th) is a Director the Green Wood Coalition – same group sponsoring the Sleeping Cabins. By looking at the pictures (click on them and they will expand to full size) front and centre is a “Tweak-Easy” banner – the same group that operated an illegal/unsanctioned Drug Tent in Victoria Park Friday night March 27th.

There is clearly direct involvement/association between the Drug Tent organizers and the Sleeping Cabins project. This issue only adds to all the other issues/problems these cabins will bring to Cobourg.

The Sleeping Cabin project has to be shut down by Council at the April 3rd council meeting.

Last edited 10 months ago by Rational
Informed
Reply to  Rational
10 months ago

Thanks for the information you provided. I wish it came as a surprise but it didn’t.

FYI
Reply to  Rational
10 months ago

It was defeated in a 5-2 vote. Beatty and Burchat only 2 who voted in favour from what I saw on video.

Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago

Jennifer, do you want a shantytown in Cobourg? Does anyone?

Informed
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago

This is exactly what I would be afraid of happening here.

Bryan
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago

Jennifer Darnell,

“Build it and they will come”

From the movie Field of Dreams

First there will be 12 tiny cabins, then 24, then 36, then……

Kathleen
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Just like the pop-up drug tents. Nothing happened when one popped up in Victoria Park. Will Victoria Park be littered with them soon?
There is a movie on You Tube called, Seattle is Dying. A must see for all our Councillors, Police, MP & MPP. A frightful look into our future if we don’t get this all figured out.

JimT
Reply to  Kathleen
10 months ago

Youtube: Seattle is Dying
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw
1:00:35

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

Doesn’t even rhyme 🤣

Rob
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago

Interesting article which likely confirms the concerns that Cobourg voters have. I note that that Laura Waboose, a resident of the Tiny Home Community, has been there for 3 years which doesn’t really seem like a temporary solution to homelessness.

“Few residents of ABTC have transitioned to supportive housing, Wilmer says, noting that originally they thought the site would be more transitional. “The challenges these folks live with, the mental illness and the drug addiction, are really difficult to overcome,” he says. “They’re not soon going to be ready to enter the workforce or be able to live independently.”

So contrary what is being proposed, the evidence might suggest, a Sleeping Cabin trial quite likely turns into a permanent community, and expands in size. Its also interesting that the cities that are considering these initiatives are much larger than the Town of Cobourg (Kitchener’s population is nearly 250,000) with more resources to draw from.

Side note – The “community” in the article looks exactly as one might imagine – I suspect if my Cobourg property looked like that, I would have neighbours complaining and bylaw visits.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
10 months ago

“…quite likely turns into a permanent community, and expands in size.

That is not necessarily so. If the residents turn out to be the drug-addled, booze-brained, chronic disturbers, there will be an outcry from the larger community, and the place will be gone.
There is already a momentum to reject this place, and our free lance citizens will keep a close eye on every infraction and utilize this to discredit the small community to bring it down. If the tenants socially behave, cool, if not, gone.

The ‘community’ in the article looks exactly as one might imagine

It’s all about appearances! Don’t look good! Don’t look prosperous! And the residents dress shabby. It’s all about appearances! That’s the priority here. Imagine that!

Rob
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 months ago

As you see in the article, the Kitchener community allows for drug use, only dealing is prohibited. Frankly its unlikely they can effectively prevent either – if you have been around addicts you’ll know the level of creative deception that they are prepared to undertake to feed the addiction including use and procurement.

If this temporary community popped up in a neighbourhood, the weekend an individual posted a For Sale sign, you are absolutely correct, appearances matter – lets not pretend they don’t. One of my other concerns about the appearance is that the community has been in place for 3-years and based on that particular picture, it hasn’t developed a policy/guideline for its residents regarding what responsible tenancy looks like, teaching personal accountability and pride “ownership.”

Its pretty simple – clean the place up!

Greg H
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
10 months ago

The community of little cabins in Kitchener, shown in the TVO report, seems relatively tidy and the article explains how it is fostering a sense of community.
Most of the comments in this blog condemn homeless people and drug users for being in downtown Cobourg, but they go on to condemn any attempt to provide better conditions for them. Unfortunately this approach is not going to allow a solution to the downtown problem.

An interesting article in todays’s New York Times examines the differences between tight and loose states, and basically suggests that it is a difference in outlooks between right wing and liberal people. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/29/opinion/red-blue-tight-loose-state.html It seems to me the demonizing homeless people is not going to create a solution in Cobourg.

Pickle
10 months ago

It seems as though these are run by the same misguided people that are in support of the tent in Victoria Park. I will not consider anything they put forward as they obviously won’t stop there with their shady ideals.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Pickle
10 months ago

That’s too bad, because some of the champions of the sleeping cabins have absolutely nothing to do with the drug tents.

Pickle
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

I currently oppose anything that adds more resources to Cobourg rather than our surrounding areas. This is completely unsustainable, some of us absolutely care about the homeless but not to take on the obligation of surrounding areas. People are coming from everywhere. How can people not see that every town has to have an equal share of the responsibility. Cobourg has done its part!

Rational
10 months ago

(Note 12:12pm: This was posted at 10:30am. When I was editing a typo a message popped up saying – waiting for approval – spam. Then the posting was deleted. I have reposted.)

This is a link of Mayor Cleveland’s posting on Dec 21, 2022. In it the Mayor outlines the process that NSCC would have to follow, pointing out that they would have to do what any developer, Habitant for Humanity etc. would have to do, including engaging with the Planning Department etc. He indicates this is a long process and many months away.

https://www.facebook.com/lucasforcobourg2022/videos/880685893074572/

I question how this project advanced to final approval within three months (actually two if you consider the Feb. 28, 2022 Council meeting request). While the NCSS report records a meeting with the Planning Department personnel on Jan. 11, 2023 on processes, I would have thought that NCSS would then need to go back to the Planning Department with its detailed/specific plan on how all aspects would be met. Once its plan gains approval by the Planning Department only then should Council be asked to consider a decision. As well, the Planning Department should be required to indicate to Council if the NCSS plan was acceptable.

This whole process just doesn’t sit right. What appears here is an orchestrated rush to judgement tactic by the NSCC and when that happens mistakes are made by decision makers. True input from the residents of Cobourg who elected them is required, perhaps through a referendum for eligible voters. A vital decision of this nature that will significantly impact the Town of Cobourg should not be made by 7 individuals.

Gerinator
10 months ago

I don’t support this project. I do recognize that some on the Council do lean toward these types of Projects and so it might just get approved. If so how will the Projects success (or not) be measured? There needs to be independent oversight not just the organizers that report on the Projects development (good, bad, ugly) and outcomes.

your friendly neighbourhood homeless man
10 months ago

as a person interested in staying in. “The Pilot Project” Cabin’s I would very much stay in the cabin’s, then in Transition House, or at one of the hotels that Transition house offers as an OverFlow or Family Diversion Program. (for the record its not transitions house’s fault, I would rather stay in said Cabin, then any other shelter system I have seen or heard of…)

This would give me a safe space to call my own. Preventing my stuff from getting stolen in the shelter, and actively help with my mental health.

If I would be allowed to bring my child over for visitations. Rest assured I wouldn’t want fellow Cabiner’s that are under the influence of anything interacting with my kids. This would gibe me a place for my kid and I too follow up on the week’s homework from school, or play a board games, do art and talk to one another and create bonding time. I did this last year in the summer, taking my son to presquile provincial park many of times, and created a truly amazing experience.

Am I an addict ? YES, but an addict has to live with their addiction the duration of the lifespan they are given on this planet, regardless of sober today, tomorrow, or yesterday. You bet your ass I won’t be easily influenced by others that refuse to leave the system.

It’s a temporary place for living and a pilot project at that. I doubt they will randomly select who gets to be the first in the cabins for the project.

I work full time, and pay my taxes, yes I have made a few mistakes, and the rental market in Cobourg is beyond economical. Even if I can afford a 1450$ place for rent. the landlords take into consideration, credit reports and police records, etc. but A man who has been working the same job for almost 2 years, and paying his taxes, support, bills, still can’t get approved on any one bedroom in town, and is subject to living air BnB’s or Hotels , and then back into the shelter system after the a lotted time.

Beachwalker

Bless you! You do need a sleeping cabin to help you get back on your feet. But, Cobourg folk generally do not care about you. I feel for you, and others like you. Best of luck.

Dave

There is a process to get your records, I believe the term is expunged. You could apply through a legal services clinic. I knew of two people when running the halfway house that did just that. One had been for shop lifting – only one conviction but a well known in retail stores, sentence was 2 years less a day as it was first conviction, the other was a person who heavily used cocaine. He was driving around in his vehicle with his pants around his ankles exposing himself. Both were successful. Often one can rebuild ones credit. With 2 years steady in a job. You should talk to your bank about getting a low level credit card.

Pickle

If you are a law abiding citizen, doing all that you can and have ties to Cobourg you should be eligible for greater services than what is effectively a shed. If our town would only allow people from Cobourg to use Cobourg facilities and resources you would (if following basic rules) have better and deserve better services than a shed. Overwhelming one community is not the answer.

Last edited 10 months ago by Pickle
Beachwalker
10 months ago

Some folk here seem to think that sleeping cabins are going to be given to drug addicted bums. What about the young man living in his car because he lost his apartment to a greedy landlord? He is clean and doesn’t do drugs. Does he not get a safe place to sleep. Or does he deserve a thumbs down,too?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

Why would he risk associating with the Others that get the Sympathy and the Press
Drugs , Alcohol Sniffing Glue all the same to me SELF INFLICTED
The car is probably safer .

Catherine
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

This is a very fair point. I’ve also heard a lot of talk about law abiding seniors living is their cars because of the cost of housing. I think most people would be on board with this if it truly was law abiding seniors and other citizens utilizing these cabins. Rent has skyrocketed in this town and it’s definitely a problem.
However, the same organizers running this are the ones running the illegal drug use tents and attempting to normalize drug use. It’s also become obvious in reading their intentions for the cabins that they intent to house people that are addicted to drugs and engaging in erratic and unpredictable behaviour. Missy McLean and Tweakeasy (an organization trying to normalize drug use from Peterborough who in many videos find it funny that they are upsetting Cobourg residents) Should absolutely NOT be permitted to run something like this. I think if residents felt confident that those housed in the cabins were law abiding citizens that are struggling to find housing due to high rents most people would be behind it.
It should be run as a way to get these seniors living in cars in a temporary place, and then hopefully once stabilized moved into more permanent accommodation. This has been rushed and not thought through, and definitely is not being run by the correct people. Because of this council needs to shut this down until someone responsible can run it properly.

Heartbreaking for all
Reply to  Catherine
10 months ago

Yes to all of this.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Catherine
10 months ago

I know some of the people involved in the sleeping cabins initiative. They do NOT support the drug tents.

Rational
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

The concern is that as we have seen over the past 10 days in stereo those involved from the Drug Tents are very persistent and ignore authority, and will simply steamroll over the law abiding Sleeping Cabin organizers.

Catherine
Reply to  Rational
10 months ago

Exactly. And Missy is on the board of the sleeping cabins collective and closely tied to Greenwood coalition. If they want the public to take this seriously at this point, they need to remove her from the board and not allow her or any of the drug tent organizers to be involved (including tweakeasy from Peterborough). It’s too bad. The idea in and of itself isn’t bad. We do need a temporary solution to high rents and people living in their cars. But this crazy push to normalize drug use and lawlessness by some closely tied to the project has tarnished it.

FYI
Reply to  Catherine
10 months ago

Missy McLean is a current Board Of Directors member of Greenwood Coalition one of the main organizations behind the “Sleeping Cabin” proposal. Green Wood Coalition Exec Direct Dave Sheffield’s daughter Meghan ( Megan) is also heavily involved.

FYI
Reply to  FYI
10 months ago

Or I should say ( McLean) is listed as same in the Proposal documents.

Catherine
Reply to  FYI
10 months ago

Thanks for the clarification. So it would seem then that Greenwood coalition is heavily involved in the illegal drug tents based on this information. How can they be entrusted to run something like this if they are actively trying to normalize illicit drug use? Some of the organizers of the drug tents admit they are users themselves. How are drug users supposed to help drug addicts get clean? Clearly helping people get clean is not the intention here. Wouldn’t the point of these cabins be to get people real help with housing/rehab/and help with their addiction so they can live a better life? Seems then the goal is just to house addicts here and expect no real help or solutions to their addictions. I’d love to see people housed and get some real help. This is clearly not the way or the organization to do it.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Catherine
10 months ago

Affordable AGE IN Place
that was not what Bolder Offered and the Town was suckered into
we gave then a lot of $$$ based on False and misleading pretext,
right now there are 3 or 4 projects for Senior Age in place Barrier Free on the for ever Hold list in the Towns Planning Dept
Ask them why
I know 1 development that was just asked to do an Arborist study on a Historic Corn Field Not a Tree in sight but its a question / study they are entitled to ask for even if it does not make sense to anyone else But it can tie up process for months .

Informed
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

I would be more likely to support cases in this instance. Tell me some more about the screening process to ensure they all get a cabin

Beachwalker
Reply to  Informed
10 months ago

Ask Greenwood Coalition. They can answer all the questions. They have been around for years and do great work.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

And all the thumbs down from Cobourgs entitled masses.

Newbie
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

Beachwalker- do you actually want to have a conversation—or do you want to name throw and stereotype people in this group?

Bryan
Reply to  Beachwalker
10 months ago

Beachwalker,

Why wouldn’t such a person be at the top of the County’s list for its GIR housing?
Even one of Balder’s 4 “affordable” apartments would likely suffice.
The Town really screwed up when it let Balder out of its CIP agreement to provide 14 “affordable” apartments.

ben
Reply to  Bryan
10 months ago

because there is a TEN year waiting list, how desperate would you have to be to put on top of a list consisting of desperate people?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

Ben, obviously somebody is at the top of the waiting list. Is being at the top based on desperation, prospects of success, time on the list, who you know or…?

We have a waiting list. Is it acceptable for some to jump the queue by starting another list?

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Ken & Ben,
Sure. Put the guy at the top of Balder’s list for one of the 4 ( 3??) “affordable” apartments.

Last edited 10 months ago by Bryan
ciw
10 months ago

Mike Harris closed and emptied Ontario’s ” mental institutions ” ( I wish I knew the more appropriate name for these institutions: I would have used it ). I feel that new institutions should be established to provide rehabilitation, psychiatric care and education for the people we are concerned about. There are many other questions that have to be considered but I feel that this is the only solution to the problem.

Sandpiper
Reply to  ciw
10 months ago

I feel that Slightly refurbished Golden Ploughs are better than Homeless and Tiny
Cabins This is a County Not Cobourg issue
Ha s Mr Washburn or Draper Interviewed the County on this >> ?

Jeffy
Reply to  ciw
10 months ago

Don’t blame Harris. Every province did this during this time.

Bryan
Reply to  Jeffy
10 months ago

Jeffy,

So Harris was just a mindless lemming following everyone else?
A leadership paragon

Sandpiper
10 months ago

Personally I believe these Cabin Residents need to abide by more rules than this .
At least maintain the Best Western Standards of Occupancy
I also believe that other such facilities come with additional requirements such as partaking in
ReHab , Counseling , Work and if nothing else Retraining
I would also like to know who will be Paaaid —-How —-and What for—- Managing and Maintaining such a facility will not be pleasant or cheap .and it will be 24 X 7
Who pays for the Utilities ? What if the Not for profit manager falls down on the Job.

Will there be required Trust accounting on this project for the Not For Profit Groups
I would like to know that the money raised is Truly going back to the Cause and not
into the pockets of the so called Do Gooders that get marvelous PRESS around here

cornbread
10 months ago

There are about 5 people living at the back of the closed restaurant close to the the Buttermilk Cafe. Messing up the walkway from Covert St to King St with debris and human waste. Are we becoming San Francisco?

Sandpiper
Reply to  cornbread
10 months ago

No worse — we have a Beach they all move south for the summer
and hang out / camp at the waterfront . its been happening for yrs .

Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

Solutions: rehabilitation, psychiatric care, education. In other words get off the drugs, get clean, get educated, get a job, earn a living. If the NSCC mandated this assistance for residents I would be more inclined to support this but not at this location at the arena. A more remote location say where there is little temptation to relapse. The Wraparound services should be the first thing established not an afterthought.

Malcom
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

Thanks for a constructive reply. Addiction is an insidious problem that I would invite anyone who cares or comments to, become better informed about.

I became very interested when I was intrigued by the simple fact that dealers appeared to be killing off some of their best/ steady customers. It made absolutely no sense.
Then I thought their customers would have a high degree of life/ self preservation and either quit or use something else that wasn’t life killing poison. But they didn’t.

That, unfortunately, is addiction for you. It’s hard to explain and even harder to live with.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

You do know that wrap around services are a big part of what Greenwood Coalition offers, right? Have done for years, successfully.

Malcom
10 months ago

So what are the realistic solutions that wil have an immediate impact on saving peoples lives?

We seem to have perfected the complaining and doing very little part of the program.

marya
10 months ago

Prepare to be deceived, once again.

Old Sailor
10 months ago

It would take a room full of mental midgets to pass anything recommended by Missy McLean or any of her flaky associates. Including the Sleeping at the Switch Cabin Collective Group.

If Council passes their recommendations we should, as a group, investigate how to call a municipal election.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Old Sailor
10 months ago

There are some really good, hard working citizens involved with this project, along with other services in town that government dropped the ball on. It is not just Missy , who seems to have tarnished a lot of the good wok being done by others.

Dave
10 months ago

At first review I note the community consultations were frequently not held in Cobourg. I am not a member of Facebook. For a broader community opinion the Sleeping Cabins issue should be put on Engage Cobourg, our municipal portal into the community of Cobourg.

Not having the requirement of participation in the available drug abstinence treatment programs I fail to understand complete if Greenwood wish to ensure the surrounding community does not suffer criminal activity, drug dealers arriving and inability of people to look after their cabins due to drug adleness. Knowing this I am against this project and did not attend the session at the Library as Greenwood persists in ignorning this obvious problem. Their selection list I note allows them to cherry pick residents not by need it states. Are their initial plans to go through the list selecting people expected to make a good presentation? Later replacing them as they really don’t need the services with people practising drug use.

I will certainly continue reading their prospective, I strongly think the Council needs to get the Sleeping Cabin issue on Engage Cobourg – a much broader community input tool. 158 respondenents on Facebook! A mere drop when Cobourg’s population is over 20,000 citizens.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Dave, based on previous survey participation Engage Cobourg is completely useless. This blog.has far more participation!

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

But Engage Cobourg is more widely viewed Ken. Over 300 comments on some topics and Engage Cobourg has the real names and resident addresses for municipal decisions of the people commenting and where they are from. Not to disparage the Blog – a wonderful source of info and community input. John Draper is doing a great service and a tremendous job in keeping those who select to view the Blog. Not to say the Blog provides such wonderful community information and input from citizens but Engage Cobourg was created for direct Municipal input. The mayor says he doesn’t read the Cobourg News Blog! And so many people don’t write letters unfortunately.
The Blog also brings issues and information to the forefront for any interested citizen making their final vote on Engage Cobourg more valuable. I am not in competition with you Ken on what site is best – I only hope people will make their voices and opinions heard. Too bad the Mayor snubs the Blog.
It is neglect that to gather opinion it is not currently on Engage Cobourg for Municipal Input against Greenwood’s assertations and plans.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Newbie
Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

Deleted

Last edited 10 months ago by Newbie
Newbie
Reply to  Newbie
10 months ago

If the mayor does not read this blog of concerned citizens…we should bombard him with emails. Constantly.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Newbie
10 months ago

The mayor says he doesn’t read the Cobourg News Blog! 

Perhaps but he has posted here recently. See https://www.cobourgblog.com/news-2023/letter-from-a-downtown-business-re-safety-concerns#comment-30131 for example.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Yes Ken I noted that and was surprised. It was a later post, one and only. Previously he stated he didn’t have time to consult/read the Blog. To review for that post is rather time consuming but it is there, perhaps you have found a method to search rather than review each and every Blog subject – posted when someone wondered if he read the Blog. Considering how much he posted on it prior to election seemed incongruous.
On subjects of great interest I have seen over 300 replies on Engage Cobourg. However on others few but it is still the official municipal input site and you would think Council would reach out extensively for citizens views in every way possible.
Hopefully people will send letters by e-mail to the mayor.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
Kathleen
Reply to  Newbie
10 months ago

Include the DM and all the the Councillors, asking that your letter be part of the Agenda.

BTW – Theresa Rickerby of All Creatures Great & Small posted Greenwood’s survey in a Facebook Group called, ‘Living and Loving in Cobourg’.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kathleen
10 months ago

I note that ‘Living and Loving in Cobourg’ is a private group that one must ask to join rather than a public forum. In any case the survey was not advertised plus most residents do not use Facebook.

Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

In regards to the digital survey, it was posted on the NSCC facebook page and in order to fill it in, one had to give their name. I have the same concern as Ken re: the use of drugs and alcohol being permitted. It is also not clear whether the cabins will have 24 hour 7 days a week staff other than the residents themselves. While some parts of the report say kitchen/washroom facilities will be in trailers, other parts say “if there are no facilities there” They also want electricity and water service available. Are they paying for the provision of these? Missy McLean sits on the board, she also thinks illegal unauthorized drug consumption sites are a great thing, in say the most popular park in Cobourg, by a group called TweakEasy who is showing a movie at town hall which by the sounds of the title will condone illegal unauthorized drug consumption sites. My main concern is that Wraparound services will not be mandatory for residents of the cabins. So if a resident wants to continue with whatever disability or addiction has put them in this sorry state then they can live in a cabin. Honestly if the idea is to help the residents should help not be provided to become contributing members of society by using the Wraparound services the NSCC are going to provide? More details on the provision of these services will also be very helpful. I believe all I read was mental health services to be provided every fortnight. I’ve also read (elsewhere) that psychiatric care often takes 3-7 years to resolve whatever issue there was and that the average addict has 6-7 relapses before reaching sobriety and that it is constant struggle.

John Draper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 months ago

So the survey was only available to anyone following NSCC on facebook. That’s why I did not know about it. Like many others, I don’t follow anyone on facebook. So it’s a very biased survey.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  John Draper
10 months ago

Even worse, John. According to their report (page 7):

In total 158 responses came in with the 24 hour period the survey was active prior to this report being submitted. Of the 158 respondents: 118 identified as having a K9A postal code.

To summarize, only people who favoured the project enough to subscribe to the group’s Facebook page knew about the survey. Of that very biased subset of Cobourg residents only 118 or about 0.6% percent of our residents expressed any opinion.

For this farcical survey to be considered community consultation and approval is absurd!

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  John Draper
10 months ago

Exactly! If council just go by the NSCC report they will not know that. But will it matter to council? I think most ( staff and council ) ignore Engage Cobourg surveys results also. Also NSCC brag about followers on their facebook page, I believe the number was about 860, but some people like me joined so I could see what they were up to, not as a supporter.

Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Reading through the 33 page report, they explicitly note (page 27) that drugs and alcohol consumption will be allowed. How does that differ from an illegal safe injection site housed on public property?

Note that the plan is to “encourage family visits of children”. There is no mention of whether children and minors will be allowed to live in the “tiny homes”. Should children even be allowed near a safe injection site much less encouraged to visit one?

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Ken presumably because each cabin will be a home away from home and personal space. I do not have the right to tell you not to consume alcohol or drugs legal or otherwise in your home and space, why should you question theirs?

Informed
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

A home away from home, lol. They will be trashed in the first month

ciw
Reply to  ben
10 months ago

These will not be homes; they will be crash sites, soon to be trash sites!

Beachwalker
Reply to  Ken Strauss
10 months ago

Think of this while you are enjoying a nice glass of wine with your dinner, in your cozy home. Nobody to judge you.