Urban Haven Project organizer not concerned about complaints to city
LONDON, ONT. -- Urban Haven Project Founder Dan Morand isn't fazed by complaints to the city about his homeless housing project.
"The city has every right to check into it, doing a job...if its an issue, come talk to us," he says.
The city has received five complaints about the two military-style tents which have been erected in behind Beth Emanuel Church. The tents will house 20 homeless men from January to March.
"Several of the concerns raised focus on the safety of the tents," says City of London Bylaw Enforcement Chief Orest Katolyk.
He adds that the city appreciates all the work being done by organizations on homelessness.
"However, there are safety-related regulations in place regarding structural capability of tents and safety of heat sources."
If the anonymous complaints coming in are from neighbours, they weren't the ones CTV News spoke to on Grey Street on Wednesday.
Alan Campbell has no issue with the program, "At 16 I lived on the street in Toronto and then did four years in prison. The need is great."
Campbell can understand the risk involved, but commends Morand for doing everything to minimize the risk.
Nancy Easton lives right next door to Beth Emanuel Church.
"I actually found it safer when the guys were here last year at the drop-in centre," says Easton. "You wouldn't belive the stuff stolen out of our backyard recently, but when those guys were there, there was nothing stolen. It was like security."
We also spoke with a few others who wished to remain anonymous, but they also had no issue with the tents behind the church.
Morand says the response has been overwhelming since the story first aired on CTV News on Monday.
"It's been chaotic. We just had the Lions Club drop off a $500 cheque. We had two brand new heaters donated, and an electrician who says he'll install them. We also got mattresses donated."
Morand says he hasn't heard back from the dity, but Katolyk says they'll be talking soon.
"Internal discussions are ongoing and conversations will be occurring very shortly with the Urban Haven Project," Katolyk states.
Over the past two days, the Urban Haven Project has found two men who fit the criteria for the program. They'll be using agencies to find the rest.
As for the complaints, Morand says he isn't interested in trying to make everyone happy.
"I just want to save 20 people."