The new govt director of the Downtown Kingston BIA is facing some backlash on social media after sending out a letter to company proprietors about street crime, panhandling and loitering of “street involved” individuals.
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The letter was despatched to downtown Kingston enterprises on Aug. 11, penned by Marijo Cuerrier, the new govt director of the downtown business association. It was then posted to Instagram by a neighborhood page referred to as “The Serious Ktown,” which describes alone as a web page that “exposes the cracks in the Limestone” town.
Cuerrier advised World-wide Information in an job interview Tuesday that the letter was meant as an introduction to member businesses, just one that addresses the worries of downtown organization house owners dealing with an elevated quantity of vulnerable people on the streets all through the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a number of facets of the observe rubbed some people the erroneous way, which include that business enterprise owners discourage their clients from giving funds to panhandlers.
“Kingston has a terrific food plan and social provider assistance program in position, as a result there is no require to offer individuals with added funds, foods or consume,” Cuerrier’s letters says.
“Many panhandlers have residences and other supports in area. Supporting them with spare change or meals permits them to go on loitering and panhandling, instead than looking for ideal support and in some scenarios could be enabling illegal drug use.”
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Community housing advocate Chrystal Wilson claimed that section of the letter did not reflect the real reality of supports for vulnerable populations on Kingston’s streets.
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“To propose that there is enough supports accessible in the system presently, there is not. We have about 400 folks in Kingston enduring homelessness the shelters are normally more than-capability,” she said.
Cuerrier suggests her objective was not to stigmatize persons living and spending time on Kingston’s downtown streets, but to recommend momentary alternatives for regional business homeowners while the City of Kingston will work on much larger kinds, this kind of as developing far more housing.
“This is a group problem, such as susceptible communities. I’m just the just one that started off the discussion with members, and that begun a conversation with some folks who didn’t agree with my letter,” she claimed.
Continue to, the letter was effectively-received by some downtown business proprietors, like Laurie Davey-Quantick, the owner of Verde, an environmental normal shop.
She claimed she was delighted to see the letter address some of the issues downtown businesses have been facing, and suggests that a lot more housing, psychological health and habit help has to occur rapidly.
“I consider that we as a group have truly permit a whole phase of society down. We are not accomplishing them any assistance by our solutions that we have experienced so significantly,” she explained.
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Cuerrier suggests she is open to re-producing the letter under the of advice individuals like Wilson who operate with susceptible communities in the city.
Wilson by now has some strategies of how the BIA could interact with this segment of the populace in the downtown main.
“I assume it’d be terrific if the BIA could aid produce a distribution flyer to give to persons dealing with homelessness so they know the place to obtain providers,” Wilson claimed.
All people associated does agree on 1 detail: additional get the job done needs to be finished to support those equally living and operating downtown, and it will choose additional than the BIA and community organizations to handle these issues.
–With data files from World wide News’ Alexandra Mazur.
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