Turning the sheets on bed bug problem at The Lighthouse

Watch above: People utilizing The Lighthouse emergency shelter in Saskatoon are encountering a bed bug issue.  Wendy Winiewski finds out how much of a problem the pests are and whether residents of the housing facility even care.

SASKATOON – With blood stained pillow cases and bedding, the peace and comfort of a good night’s rest is non-existent for Allan Moore. Dealing with relationship issues a couple years ago, Moore moved from his home to The Lighthouse Supported Living.

He’s been dealing with bed bugs ever since.

“If you feel any movement on your body, you’re agitated immediately. You sit up, turn on the light, and look for them,” said Moore Wednesday afternoon outside the Sturdy Stone Centre on 22nd Street .

Moore’s claim is being heard by the Office of Residential Tenancies in Saskatoon. The hearing was adjourned Wednesday and has been rescheduled for Dec. 11. He wasn’t aware of the bed bug problem prior to moving in.

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“Precautions at The Lighthouse, there are no notices or anything up on the wall saying it’s a bug infested building.”

Moore has replaced furniture, bedding and had his wrist recast after bed bugs claimed his previous one as a home. Alleged damages amount to $3,900.

Lawyer Trevor Oleniuk with Classic Inc. is representing Moore.

“Our position is that this type of claim amounts to a breach of the tenant’s rights to quiet enjoyment of having the unit free of any pests and things like that,” said Oleniuk.

By law, full disclosure of pre-existing issues must be given to potential tenants. According to Oleniuk, bed bugs would fall under this. The Lighthouse admits to and is constantly treating the problem.

“We try to house the hardest to house in our community and the people who have experienced homelessness or have been transient in the past,” said Communications Director DeeAnn Mercier.

“With that target population, sometimes there are issues, such as bed bugs.”

Darwin Micha is a tenant at The Lighthouse. Micha said the bed bug problem has recently improved.

“I’m homeless so I’d rather sleep with bed bugs than sleep outside,” said Micha.

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It’s a line of thinking Moore said is common among residents of The Lighthouse, but believes tenants shouldn’t have to choose one or the other.

Moore is striving to be a representative voice in hopes of more proactive and consistent treatment when these situations arise.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the two sides were encouraged to settle the dispute on their own before to the next hearing. Moore has no intention of doing so, rather choosing to be a voice for the people.

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