Transcript: Homelessness in Rural Ontario | Jan 31, 2020

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and patterned purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Homelessness in rural Ontario. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says THERE ARE VERY FEW
PLACES FOR HOMELESS MEN TO FIND
SHELTER AND A BED IN PARTS OF
THIS PROVINCE.
MARY BAXTER COVERS THE SOUTHWEST
FOR ONTARIO HUBS AND SHE'S BEEN
LOOKING INTO THAT SITUATION IN
THAT AREA.
SHE JOINS US NOW FROM OUR STUDIO
AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY IN LONDON,
ONTARIO.

Mary is in her forties, with shoulder-length wavy brown hair. She's wearing a black jacket and a blue blouse.

Jeyan continues HI, WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

Mary says HI, JEYAN, THANKS FOR
HAVING ME.

Jeyan says TELL US ABOUT THE
TROUBLE HOUSING THE HOMELESS.

The caption changes to "Mary Baxter. Southwestern Ontario Hub Journalist."
Then, it changes again to "Not enough shelter."

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/OntarioHubs. Southwestern. Southwestern Ontario's shelter shortage. By Mary Baxter."

Mary says SURE, HOUSING IN RURAL
AREAS OFTEN THERE'S A HOMELESS
SITUATION.
JUST LIKE THERE IS IN CITIES.
BUT IT LOOKS DIFFERENT... OR
TRADITIONALLY IT'S LOOKED A LOT
DIFFERENT.
WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT PEOPLE WILL
TEND TO BE MORE HIDDEN IN THEIR
HOMELESSNESS.
WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS THEY
MIGHT COUCH SURF.
THEY MIGHT STAY WITH FAMILY OR
FRIENDS RATHER THAN LIVING ON
THE STREETS.
AND TRADITIONALLY IT'S BEEN VERY
HARD TO GET A HANDLE ON HOW MANY
PEOPLE ARE GOING HOMELESS
BECAUSE OF THAT.
IN RURAL AREAS IT IS AN
UNDER-STUDIED SITUATION.
BUT THIS SUMMER, SOMETHING
REALLY CHANGED.
PARTICULARLY IN EXETER, WHICH IS
A TOWN THAT IS NORTH OF LONDON.
IT IS A 40-MINUTE DRIVE NORTH OF
LONDON.
AND THERE PEOPLE STARTED TO SEE
SOMETHING THEY'VE NEVER SEEN
BEFORE.
THEY SAW PEOPLE SLEEPING ON THE
TOWN HALL STEPS, ON THE STEPS OF
THE LIBRARY.
THEY SAW PEOPLE PITCHING TENTS
IN THE MUNICIPAL CAMP GROUND
WHERE PEOPLE ARE ONLY SUPPOSED
TO STAY FOR A NIGHT.
AND THEY WERE STAYING FOR LONG
PERIODS OF TIME.
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE
HOMELESS SITUATION THAT WE'VE
SEEN IN MANY CITIES LIKE LONDON
AND TORONTO WHERE THERE HAVE
BEEN SUCH A CRISIS IN THIS TYPE
OF THING, IT'S HAPPENING IN
THESE SMALLER TOWNS AS WELL.
AND PEOPLE GREW VERY, VERY
CONCERNED ABOUT IT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Jeyan says NOW, IN YOUR ARTICLE
YOU MENTIONED HOW MEN ARE
ESPECIALLY IN NEED OF BEDS.
CAN YOU SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
WHAT YOU LEARNED ABOUT THAT?

The caption changes to "Men in need."

Mary says SO ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT I LEARNED WHEN I STARTED TO
LOOK INTO THIS ISSUE IS THAT
THERE ARE SHELTERS FOR YOUTH IN
SOME AREAS.
AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE REGION,
I LOOKED AT A REGION THAT IS
GREY, BRUCE, HURON AND PERTH
COUNTIES.
AND THE KIND OF ASSOCIATED
CITIES AND TOWNS.
AND THAT AREA IS THREE... THINK
OF THIS... THREE TIMES THE SIZE
OF P.E.I.

Jeyan says WOW.

Mary says YEAH.
AND IN THIS AREA, THERE ARE
SHELTERS FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN
WHO EXPERIENCE ABUSE.
THERE ARE SHELTERS FOR YOUTH.
THERE'S NOT A LOT BUT THEY ARE
THERE.
THERE'S A SEASONAL SHELTER FOR
ADULTS IN GENERAL.
AND THAT'S IN GODERICH.
BUT OTHER THAN THAT, THERE ARE
NO EMERGENCY SHELTERS FOR MEN.
NONE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Jeyan says HMM.
NOW, A UNITED CHURCH IN THAT
AREA IS OFFERING A SOLUTION,
AREN'T THEY?

The caption changes to "Grassroots solution."

Mary says THEY'VE BEEN LOOKING AT
THIS ISSUE FOR SURE.
A PERSON BY THE NAME OF HEATHER
MCECHNIE WHO IS WITH THE EXETER
UNITED CHURCH IS ONE OF THE
PEOPLE WHO HAS REALLY LOOKED
INTO THIS ISSUE AND STARTED TO
MOBILIZE HER COMMUNITY AROUND
IT.
HEATHER HELPED OUT TO ESTABLISH
A STEERING COMMITTEE ON
HOMELESSNESS IN EXETER.
THEY ESTABLISHED IT LAST FALL.
THEY STARTED OFF WITH TRYING TO
GATHER BOTH INPUT FROM THE
COMMUNITY ON WHAT TO DO AND THEN
ALSO TO EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY
ABOUT HOMELESSNESS.
ESPECIALLY THE ACUITY FORM OF
HOMELESSNESS.
AND THEN THEY'VE ALSO BEEN
TRYING TO WORK ON SOME
SOLUTIONS.
NOW, IN HURON COUNTY, BECAUSE
THEY DO HAVE A SEASONAL
EMERGENCY SHELTER IN GODERICH,
ONE OF THE THINGS THEY DO FOR
THAT SHELTER IS IF PEOPLE ARE IN
OTHER AREAS OF THE COUNTY, AND
THEY NEED THE SHELTER, THEY WILL
ACTUALLY DRIVE THEM TO IT.
SERVICE PROVIDERS WILL DRIVE
THEM TO IT TO ACCESS THAT HELP.
SO THEY DIDN'T... IN EXETER,
SHELTERS ARE EXPENSIVE.
THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DUPLICATE
WHAT WAS ALREADY THERE.
SO WHAT THEY'VE DECIDED TO DO IS
TO EXPAND THE NUMBER OF BEDS IN
A TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FACILITY
FOR MEN.
THERE ARE THREE BEDS THERE NOW.
AND WHAT'S MEANT BY
"TRANSITIONAL HOUSING" IS THAT
IT PROVIDES SHELTER FOR MEN FOR
UP TO A YEAR.
IT ALSO HELPS THEM TO ACCESS
OTHER SUPPORT, TO HELP OTHER
CHALLENGES THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE.
OF COURSE, STUDIES HAVE SHOWN
THAT MANY PEOPLE WHO END UP
HOMELESS MAY BE DEALING WITH
ISSUES OF ADDICTION OR OF MENTAL
ILLNESS.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, HOUSING
AFFORDABILITY IS THE OTHER BIG
ISSUE THAT IS PUSHING A LOT OF
PEOPLE ONTO THE STREETS RIGHT
NOW.

The caption changes to "Next up: Rescuing Aussie wildlife."

Jeyan says I AM SURE WE'LL KEEP
AN EYE ON THAT ONE FOR SURE.
I DO WANT TO SWITCH GEARS FOR A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT AN UPCOMING
STORY YOU HAVE ABOUT THE FIRES
IN AUSTRALIA.
AND IT HAS A SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO CONNECTION ABOUT IT.
YOU SPOKE TO TWO VOLUNTEERS
ABOUT THEIR WORK IN AUSTRALIA
SAVING AND FEEDING WILDLIFE IN
THOSE AREAS.
I WANT TO PULL SOME PHOTOS UP.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT WE'RE
SEEING HERE?
I SEE SOME CREW IN THE BACK OF A
TRUCK PUTTING TOGETHER
SOMETHING.
WHAT IS THAT?

A picture shows three women in the wilderness, on the back of a pickup truck, threading fruits onto sticks.

Mary says THEY ARE PUTTING
TOGETHER WHAT IS CALLED A FRUIT
RINGLET.
AND IT'S MADE UP OF FRUITS LIKE
APPLES AND MELONS.
AND THEY ARE USED TO FEED AN
ANIMAL THAT'S CALLED A FLYING
FOX.
NOW, YOU MIGHT GET THE PICTURE
OF A FOX, BUT IT'S ACTUALLY A
BAT FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND.
THEY WRAP THEM AROUND TREES FOR
THEM TO BE ABLE TO FEED ON.
THAT'S ONE THING THE GROUP IS
DOING.
THEY'RE ALSO PROVIDING WATER FOR
WILDLIFE THAT ARE TRYING TO
ESCAPE THE FIRES.
AND THEN THEY'RE ACTUALLY
RESCUES WILDLIFE.
THEY'VE BEEN DOING THINGS LIKE
GRID SEARCHES TO TRY TO FIND
INJURED ANIMALS SUCH AS THE
KANGAROO THAT THEY RESCUED AND
TOOK BACK.
IT WAS BURNED.
ALL OF ITS LEGS WERE BURNED.
THEY HAD TO HELP WITH THAT.
AND THE KANGAROO, THE 'ROO HAD A
JOEY WHICH IS A BABY.
AND THEY HELPED TO RESCUE THAT
ANIMAL AS WELL.
BUT THEY'VE ALSO BEEN HELPING
WITH OTHER RESCUE EFFORTS IN THE
AREA BY PROVIDING BACK UP
SUPPORT AND THAT SORT OF THING.

Another picture shows two women and a man tending to an injured kangaroo lying on an operating table inside a warehouse, with its feet wrapped in bandages.

Jeyan says NOW, ONE OF THE
VOLUNTEERS YOU SPOKE TO IS FROM
THE KITCHENER AREA.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT THEY
TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA TO HELP OUT?

The caption changes to "Mary Baxter, @MaryBWord."

Mary says SO I SPOKE TO HEIDI
BEXTALD AND SHE SAID THAT IT
WAS, FOR HER, IT'S A CALLING.
NOW, THE GROUP THAT SHE WAS
GOING WITH, IT WAS RUN BY BRAD
PATTISON WHO IS BASED IN
KELOWNA, B.C.
BOTH HEIDI AND BRAD ARE DOG
TRAINERS.
SO THEY'RE ANIMAL PEOPLE
ALREADY.
AND BRAD HAS DONE A LOT OF THESE
KINDS OF RESCUES.
HE'S WORKED IN THE FLOODS IN
AROUND B.C. OR, SORRY IN
CALGARY, I THINK IT WAS.
AND THEN FIRES IN B.C. AND
HURRICANE KATRINA ALSO HE WAS
INVOLVED IN THAT.
SO THIS IS HEIDI'S FIRST TIME
DOING THIS TYPE OF RESCUE.
BUT, YEAH, SHE SAYS FOR HER IT
REALLY IS A CALLING.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, MARY BAXTER.
OF COURSE YOU ALWAYS BRISES SOME
GREAT STORIES FROM SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO.
THAT'S MARY BAXTER, ONTARIO HUB
JOURNALIST COVERING SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO.
THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Mary says THANKS, JEYAN.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

Watch: Homelessness in Rural Ontario