Raising awareness about homelessness in Cornwall

Paula Labonte —Seaway News freelancer
Raising awareness about homelessness in Cornwall

A group of advocates met outside City Hall this morning to raise awareness about homelessness in the city and to plead for assistance from local politicians. Organizer and local resident Phyllis Sarault spoke passionately to the crowd of approximately sixty people concerning her call to action after noticing a woman sleeping outside City Hall recently.

UCDSB Trustee Jordan Curtis led the walk, and the chants, with a large banner from City Hall to Times Square with help from concerned local citizen, Nicole Duffy.

The crowd, many of whom had personal connections to loved ones affected by the housing crisis were hopeful that solutions could be found but disappointed in the lack of available resources, specifically a shelter.

‘One homeless person is a crisis’ said Curtis mentioning his frustration with the situation.

Geana Whitford and Eric Wilson were also among the crowd protesting and spoke firsthand about the homelessness crisis in Cornwall.

“We live in a tent by the river” said Geana referring to her and Eric. Geana states that she has been homeless since March 2022 when her landlord sold the home she was living in. Since then she hasn’t been able to find any affordable or available housing, not even a room to rent.

‘I was couch surfing and relying on friends, but they can only do so much. [I] was out of options’ Geana mentions the biggest struggle beyond physical housing is not having access to bathe properly, indicating they have been using the river but mentions it can only do so much.

Stephen Douris, a local mental health advocate, fought back tears recalling how he was once homeless. ‘That was once me. It could be anyone.’

‘We can do better’ said Sarault, whose intention it was to obtain a meeting with the Mayor.

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