Helping Lambton’s homeless still difficult despite new support programs


Heather Wright/The Independent

Despite having more shelter beds and more housing programs than ever before, helping people without a home get out of the cold in Lambton is still difficult.
That’s according to Myles Vanni, executive director at Inn of the Good Shepherd. He was at Lambton County Council Nov. 1 where politicians questioned what help is available this winter.
The Inn has 34 shelter beds available and an out of the cold shelter at an Indian Road church building will take in even more, he says. And Vanni says the Inn is helping about 60 people with their rent in buildings around the city, providing up to $800 per month for some people to pay rent.
The county, says Valerie Colasanti, general manager of social services, says has even more top up programs for people who are already spending most of their income on rent. “They’re using all of their money for rent, not just people in those programs, but others. And that’s why we’re seeing such pressures … at the food bank.”
And as the cold sets in, Vanni says “despite even our best programs, it’s still challenging.”
Sarnia City/County Councillor Chrissy McRoberts agrees. She’s ask the city to look up setting up a tent city.
She believes upwards of 50 people are living rough in Sarnia and are constantly forced to move after police receive complaints.
“They have been blocked from coming in to overnight shelters because of behavior or extreme drug use but they’re still members of the community. They’re still folks that we need to worry about.”