Windsor

Downtown Mission practising distancing and pandemic protocols

The Downtown Mission is practising physical distancing and other measures with people experiencing homelessness that come through its doors at the facility on Victoria Avenue and the emergency shelter on Ouellette Avenue.

People continue to congregate outside the mission on Victoria Avenue

The Downtown Mission on Victoria Avenue. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The Downtown Mission is practising physical distancing and other measures with people experiencing homelessness that come through its doors at the facility on Victoria Avenue and the emergency shelter on Ouellette Avenue.

Executive director Ron Dunn said people coming in for a meal are being kept two metres apart.

"Which means we're only allowing people in for 15 minutes at a time to have a meal, use the washroom and exit through a separate door, different than what they came in," said Dunn.

The mission has received extra funding through the city from the province which Dunn said allowed them to move half of their beds to the second floor of their overnight shelter to keep the clients apart.

"I've got people sleeping on mattresses on the floor now six feet apart but certainly not adequate," said Dunn.

"This pandemic has shined a huge light on the necessity for housing for folks," said Dunn. "These are people like us who deserve the right to be in isolation. They deserve the same things that we have which is a home to go to honour what the law says which is stay separate."

However, people congregating outside the mission on Victoria Avenue were seen milling together and even hugging. A security guard was seen walking past the people. There didn't seem to be any measures in place to enforce distancing outside.

Unidentified people hug outside the Downtown Mission on Victoria Avenue Tuesday. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

CBC News has reached out to Dunn for a comment but so far we have not been able to connect.

Meanwhile, Dunn has told CBC News that the pandemic has put on hold plans for the new shelter on Ouellette Avenue.

"We've put no effort into building the new place since the pandemic has hit. I am down staff. We are struggling," said Dunn, adding donations have dried up during the emergency.

"There will be no new place, at least not in the near future until we can get through this crisis that we're in," said Dunn, adding that he's not sure if recent federal relief money announced for homeless shelters could be used to build the new facility.

About the Author

Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.

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