Street Labourers of Windsor setting up union hall on Tecumseh Road
The Street Labourers of Windsor are setting up a union hall on Tecumseh Road and the union says anyone is welcome to enjoy themselves there.
The union, which is also known as SLOW, is made up of panhandlers, buskers and others who make their living on the street.
Their new union hall has been set up in a commercial building that is across the street from the Caboto Club.
Andrew Nellis, who is the caretaker for the union hall, said city officials and business leaders have made it "very clear" they don't want people hanging around the streets if they are not intending to spend any money.
"We'd like to show people that you don't need money to be able to come and enjoy yourself," Nellis told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday. "We want people to come and use this as their living room."
The union hall currently is equipped with a pair of couches, a coffee table, some chairs and other furnishings you might find in someone's basement.
"We've deliberately kept a rec room aesthetic in here. It's a little rough around the edges, but that's OK because we're rough around the edges, too," Nellis said.
Those who drop by the union hall are invited to enjoy free coffee and snacks, as well as the amenities and the camaraderie.
"We have a crafting station, we're going to have free internet access," said Nellis. "Any time you want to socialize, come down and read quietly, you're more than welcome."
He said the union is looking for used musical instruments.
"If people would like to bring down anything they have sitting in their garage that they are not using — old guitars, accordions — we have musicians who have offered to teach people how to play these instruments for free," said Nellis.
Nellis said the union hall will be open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With files from the CBC's Amy Dodge and Stacey Janzer