A Napanee man has stepped up to help a handful of homeless people in the region. Scott Drader set up five trailer homes on his property in the north end of the town. After two months of operating the makeshift shelter, he says the town of Greater Napanee has asked him to remove the trailers to comply with a by-law for his property. Drader, however, says he saw a need to help out.
“In Napanee, there’s nothing,” Drader said. “It would take their whole paycheque plus more just for them to live. Most of these people don’t have cars, they have disabilities, they don’t have bikes.”
He charges just $450 dollars per trailer to help offset the costs. Tenants have running water and hydro, something that is important to all of his tenants, two of whom are a transgendered couple, Katie and Adam Torres. They were kicked out of their home because of their sexual orientation. They tell CKWS they feel welcome at the pop-up shelter and don’t know where they would be without Drader’s help.
“We would probably be sleeping under an overpass without his help,” the couple said. “He drives us places when we need to get somewhere.”
Nearly a dozen people live at the pop-up shelter, including a veteran who lives with PTSD and a pregnant woman trying to flee from an abusive relationship. The 31-year-old, who chose to speak off-camera out of fear for her safety, lives with her parents in a trailer on the four-acre property. She says this is a huge upgrade over where they were before.
“Probably my parents would be living in their car like they have been, and I would be couch surfing,” she said.
“I don’t want to bring my child up in an abusive relationship. This place is perfect. It’s quiet, there’s a lot of nice people around.”
Drader was told by Napanee municipal officials that in order to comply with the by-law, he would have to rezone his property to commercial — a process he says can cost $100,000, something he can’t afford. Drader says he just wants to give them a chance to move forward.
“I’m trying to bring these people up so they actually can help themselves out and try to get a job, and they can’t at least be able to save the money and find a place to live.”
CKWS reached out to officials with the Town of Greater Napanee and were told nobody was able to comment at the time. They say a meeting will be held on Wednesday to discuss how they can move forward with the issue.
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