As winter nears, the city of Barrie has intensified its campaign against the homeless

As winter nears, the city of Barrie has intensified its campaign against the homeless

Ash Wolf, who has been living on and off in her tent at Milligan’s Park, received her fourth ticker. 

She has been homeless for over a year and half and received a $360 ticket early this year. “The harassment that I had from police, intimidation tactics that they used, I had to go into hiding for a couple of weeks in the bush,” she told Deepak Bidwai, Local Journalism Initiative reporter. 

“I’ve been working with the agencies to try and get off of the streets,” she said. “If we can’t even get past the point of ‘what’s your source of income, ODSP or welfare?’ And then no response? How are we supposed to get a house?”

The new ticket not only prohibits her from setting up a tent in a park but also sleeping in a public park at night. This leaves Ash with no option other than to go into hiding in the bushes again.

Barrie is scheduled to elect a new mayor and council on October 24. She wants the upcoming council to build more affordable housing. “Everybody, whether you’re rich or poor, has the right to a roof over their heads,” she said. “If you live in a township, you’re gonna get a little bit of everybody. It’s no different than the schoolyard. You gotta get along.”

She said the housing crisis is causing drug addiction. “A lot of the people, I know out here, didn’t touch drugs until they got out here,” she said. “There’s a handful of people out here that I know that are literally on the verge of any month now being back out.” 

Ash is bracing herself for the harsh winter as she has run out of all options.”Whatever I gotta do to make sure that by springtime, I still have my fingers and toes,” she said. “If we don’t have something to heat, we’re more at risk of not waking up in the morning.”

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