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Letter: The city must do more for the homeless

‘I know this is not an easy fix, but you have the power, you have the resources. Please help these poor souls’
typewriter pexels-min-an-1448709 (From Pexels by Min An)

Editor’s note: This joint letter to each member of Greater Sudbury city council was also shared with for publication.

I am writing this today mostly for my own well-being as I’m hoping my words will encourage change.

Every day, I check the obituary and I’m seeing two or three people a month, or more, dying from drug overdoses. I do not know most of them, or the family’s, but my heart breaks.

Driving through the city centre makes me cry. 

A few weeks ago, I saw a young man crying. I got out of the car and said to him, “What’s going on bud?” He continued to cry as he held his pants up with a blanket around himself, trying to light a smoke that he bummed. He pulled off his shoe and his foot was swollen, looked bad.

I took off my socks and gave him $10; it’s all the cash I had. 

My girlfriend in the car was horrified and the next week she came back into town for an appointment and that same man jumped in front of her car. She slammed on her brakes barely missing him. She was so shaken up. 

I’ve seen a young lady obviously living in the streets crying because she had a toothache, imagine having an infected tooth you have to live with.

We have to do something about this homelessness. We need a better mental health system here in Sudbury. You shouldn’t have to call for help and have to wait for even a day to receive it.

I’m asking you, Paul Lefebvre, to be the mayor who leaves a legacy, and you, city council, to make a change.

Anything is possible. Sudbury is world-renowned for its re-greening efforts, planting 10 million trees this year. This is proof that anything is possible. We went from the moonscape to beautiful city of green.

I have heard talk about a major increase in taxes. Being retired, this will take a heavy hit on us, perhaps even having to move, my neighbours as well. I see things like a new library being built or a roundabout in Falconbridge? Those are two things with a heavy cost and yet are they really needed? Perhaps they are; I know I won’t use them.

I intend on watching more closely where our tax money is being used and I hope other Sudbury residents will too.

I know this is not an easy fix, but you have the power, you have the resources. Please help these poor souls. I see many empty churches with space available. Perhaps they can work with the city for shelters, help centres, addiction centres, or buy a building and set up the resources needed to help.

No study needed, just get it done before another life is lost. We are running out of room where the white crosses stand downtown and out of time for some. Winter is here and the added stress of the cold for these poor souls will weigh heavy upon them.

Please be the change, be the legacy.

Christine Hurst
Greater Sudbury