For the past five years, 25-year-old Seth Raub has called the streets home.
He was placed in foster care after seeing his mother go through trauma. After he got out of the system, he said he had nowhere to go but the streets.
“It’s scary, but it’s not as scary as what you have to go through,” Raub said.
Raub said all was suffering from staying up all night, feeling cold and hungry, and carrying everything around him.
Raub is one of many experiencing homelessness in Windsor. While the city’s affordable housing stock is growing, there are thousands of names on waiting lists.
Over the last five years, he’s been homeless, but Raub said he’s been able to couchsurf occasionally. He’s trying to stay positive, he said, but he knows it won’t be easy for him to find a way out.
“Honestly, I will live on the streets until I die. If it should be so, it should be.”
look: Seth Raub talks about what it’s like to find a safe place to sleep
homeless in windsor
The latest point-in-time report from 2021 found that 251 people experienced homelessness in Windsor Essex that year. There are 198 single adults, 13 young people and 14 family members, an increase of 54 from the last tally in 2018. According to reports, the majority of those dealing with the homeless are white males under the age of 60.
More people want affordable places to live.
As of December 16, there were 5,962 people waiting for affordable housing, according to the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC). The Priority 1 list of domestic violence and trafficking victims is 66. The Priority 2 list of people who are homeless and meet other priority criteria is 481.
Earlier this year, the affordable housing listing was about 6,300. There are no more homes under construction right now, Patel said, so some may have been delisted or moved to another city.
Efforts are underway in the area to build more affordable housing and repair older buildings.
CHC CFO Ami Patel met CBC reporters at the new building at 462 Crawford Ave.
It is scheduled to open in early 2023. A three-story walk-up has space for his 15 at-risk homeless youths. It is an apartment complex with 4 bedrooms in each unit and a shared kitchen and living room. The main floor features an accessible home with 3 bedrooms and a large bathroom to accommodate your accessibility needs.
The build is in partnership with Family Services Windsor-Essex, who are referrals to tenants, so tenants are never left on the CHC waiting list.
On the eastern edge of the city, 145 new 10-story apartment complexes are expected to open in 2023 at a cost of about $40 million to build. The development will have an impact on affordable housing listings, Patel said.
look: Ami Patel giving a tour of the new youth building on Crawford Avenue
Apartments at 3100 Meadowbrook Lane include 76 low-income apartments and 69 market-priced apartments, with residents of mixed income and socio-economic backgrounds.
“Traditionally, only low-income families would have flocked to what was considered a project,” she said. The way it was built and the current model is to have a mixed income approach.”
Funding for the project came from all levels of government, Patel said.
At this time, Windsor does not have ordinances requiring inclusive zoning, which means new private builds are not required to have affordable units inside. This is what the City of Toronto has done in 2021.
“I think it’s the responsibility of all of us. I have to say we really need the private sector to get involved in this too. We’re having a housing crisis in Ontario,” Patel said. .
The state government passed Bill 23 last month, and the state plans to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years. Windsor says he plans to build 13,000 new homes by 2031.
“We hope that more affordable housing will actually come to market,” Patel said. “It is not clear if that will actually happen. The intent of the bill is to focus on supply, which does not automatically equate to lower prices.”
The local housing stock is about 50 years old and needs repairs to keep it going, she said.
CHC has committed to a multi-year development plan to revitalize the region’s assets. Patel said there is a $170 million capital plan through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation in partnership with the federal government and the city is putting all its money into making these repairs. .
Between 2022 and 2023, the city expects an additional 210 units to become available, of which 109 will be used for affordable housing.
“Good start, definitely,” said Patel. “In our big building off Lauzon Road and Meadowbrook Lane, we take people off the waiting list for that building, so we make a dent there.”
She said there is a huge need for housing in our community that all levels of government, public and private sectors need to work together to address.
“We’re a small city here in Windsor, but we’re growing into a metropolis with bigger city problems, more city problems, and we need to start addressing them.”
Sleep ‘more precious than gold’
Raub said sleep was the most precious thing for him and homeless people.
“When you’re sleeping on the street, it’s a sidewalk, and when there’s lights, there’s noise, you’re a light sleeper, and you have sensory problems like I do, you know how much more precious it is than gold. No,’ he said.
Sleeping outdoors in the cold means you need to be resourceful to find ways to keep warm.
He said he stuffs the coat with paper for added insulation.
“There were nights when I literally slept between the two of us. I didn’t want to, but I needed the heat so I slept,” Raub said.
She puts her belongings in a rubber-soled rucksack and entrusts them to trusted friends, but since the future is always uncertain, she keeps things safe.
“I don’t know when my next check will come. I don’t know when my next meal will come. I don’t even know when my next temperature or glass of water will come,” he said.