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Meeting Planned to Address Shelter Issues

Residents say they can't go out at night, mail is stolen, among other problems

Niagara Falls city council has voted to bring together community groups and residents impacted by the region's shelter on Summer Street.

Residents say they can't go out at night or take their kids to the park because of people at the shelter.  They also told council there are verbal threats, thefts, fights in the street, stolen mail, and other problems.

The city's Chief Administrative Officer Jason Burgess pointed to drug and mental health issues.  "I don't want to sound unsympathetic, but if I don't address those problems, in a year's time it's going to be a different group of people here at city hall, at a different community with the exact same issues.  And I have to figure out a way to do it."

The mayor added this isn't just a Niagara Falls problem, but in many other communities.

But, he also said they've been successful when everyone has worked together to address other problems.

"It reminded of when we had a coyote problem in the city, we had coyotes running rampant a few years back.  We had a meeting with everyone in the room, not just the residents, but police, humane society, bylaw, Coyote Watch Canada... and we got to the bottom of the problem."

Burgess added they simply can't arrest people out of this problem.

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