Deadline looms over fate of pop-up shelter in Napanee

Click to play video: 'Deadline looms over makeshift homeless shelter in Napanee'
Deadline looms over makeshift homeless shelter in Napanee
WATCH: More than a dozen people are on edge after it's unclear when they may have to vacate a pop-up shelter in Napanee. This includes one woman who is pregnant, and expecting in less than a month – Jun 20, 2018

It’s been a tough ride for shelter owner Scott Drader. Two weeks ago, he was told by town officials that several people living on his property will have to move due to a zoning issue that would cost $100,000 dollars to fix. Staff with the Greater Town of Napanee say they are well aware of the situation and have been meeting with several partners to try and find a solution. The problem is, Drader claims he’s been kept in the dark since the warning.

“They’re not keeping me in the loop at all,” Drader says.

“I’ve tried to phone town hall, just to talk to somebody, supposedly everyone in town hall has gone away.”

The Napanee man has been hosting more than a dozen people on his property for more than two months, most of them coming from very complex situations. Drader says with the uncertainty surrounding the future of his pop-up shelter, he is afraid of what will happen to his residents. One in particular is pregnant, with her due date fast-approaching.

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READ MORE: Nearly a dozen homeless people could face eviction from pop-up shelter in Napanee

“I am in desperate, desperate need to get this figured out within the next couple weeks.”

Tiara Blair has been at the property for just two weeks now with her family. At this time, she is staying in a trailer with at least three other people, but with the upcoming baby, she says another place on her own would be ideal.

“This is safe here, I need a trailer, I need a home,” Blair says.

The mother-to-be has been in a complicated situation. She has a job and is on maternity leave, but was forced into the predicament after fleeing an abusive relationship. When we first spoke with her, she wanted to remain anonymous, but now wants people to put a face to the name. Her hope is that people can see that everyone’s life is different.

“I wanted them to see that homelessness can happen to anyone. I never thought in a million years I’d be homeless,” Blair says. “When you need to flee an abusive relationship, you have no choice.”

Drader is prepared to bring Blair into his home if it comes to that.

“She will be coming into my place, and she will have full access to the kitchen, bathroom, shower.”

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A GoFund me page has been started to try and help raise money for Drader and the soaring costs, including the need for a new trailer for the expecting mother and the cost of re-zoning his property. So far, just $1,000 dollars has been raised.

Officials with the Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services have now created a task force to try and find solutions to this particular problem. Director of the program, Marlynne Ferguson, says it is something they hope they can solve.

“I think there is a lot of interest in terms of coming together and resolving the situation, what’s not clear right now is what supports are going to be needed.”

Ferguson tells CKWS that the issue also highlights a bigger problem in the town and surrounding region. She says with more than 140 homeless people counted in the last enumeration, it’s clear that more funding is needed to help those in need of social housing.

CKWS news has made repeated attempts to get a comment from officials with the Greater Town of Napanee. They refused to comment on camera, but say they will be discussing this in detail at next week’s council meeting.

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