The reality of homelessness

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It is sometimes easy to forget the problems that others may be facing, unless it’s right out in front of you.

 In the past couple of days, if you’ve driven down one of the city’s main streets, you might have noticed people’s belongings situated in the middle of a clump of trees on the North Hill – certainly a reminder of the challenges that people in our community face with being homeless.

 Samaritan House Executive Director, Thea Dennis said that since the Warm & Safe Shelter closed at the end of March, some of their clients that would have used the shelter during the winter months are now in a transient situation.

 “We do our best and we have good support in the city of Brandon, but the funding is still tight and we can only provide shelter during the cold weather months,” said Dennis.

 While areas in the city, such as Dinsdale Park and Queen Elizabeth Park are under water, Dennis said that the transients are moving north to places where it’s safe and dry.

 “We try to reach out to as many people as possible, but some just don’t realize they can come here to find out about different programs that are available in the city that can help them to get out of the elements and find a permanent place to live,” said Dennis.

 The Samaritan House had 114 clients use the shelter this past year and the majority received housing by the end of March.

 According to the Point-in-Time Homelessness Count in Brandon conducted last year on April 13, 146 people were identified as being homeless in Brandon, with 38 per cent under the age of 30.