Hunters. (© Can Stock Photo / schlag)Hunters. (© Can Stock Photo / schlag)

Hunting season's impact on the homeless

A problem many wouldn't think of during deer hunting season is the impact on the homeless.

United Way Bruce Grey Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn says hunters book motel rooms sometimes a year in advance to come to the area to hunt deer and that means fewer rooms for their emergency housing program.

"Motels are based on the tourism industry," Dobbyn said. "Hunting is a tourist activity. What it means though, for the homeless for this week, we may have fewer motel rooms for them to access while they work through an emergency housing plan."

Dobbyn warns that some of those people displaced from motels will often camp in area woodlots and forests. She urges hunters to be vigilant and call 211 if they spot someone sleeping rough.

"If they come across an encampment, they can call 211 and then that lets us know," explained Dobbyn. "It lets service agencies know. We can go out and say 'Hey, how's it going? Here's an orange hat. We'd like you to wear it for a week.'"

Dobbyn admitted municipalities are not always keen on the homeless sleeping in woodlots

"We're asking for patience from municipalities on that," said Dobbyn. "[If] people [are] keeping it clean, if they are using services, if they are engaged, and they are not having any issues there then we're asking municipalities to be tolerant of that."

Dobbyn said apartment costs are too expensive for many people, with a one bedroom in Owen Sound going for $1,600 a month.

Since mid-September, Dobbyn explained Grey County has provided 904 nights shelter and as of Monday night there were 33 motel room occupied by people in housing crisis.

There are also about 150 people on a list for those considered chronically homeless.

Read More Local Stories