Obligations at Queen’s Park make it impossible for Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha to fully commit to Elliot Lake Mayor Dan Marchisella’s homelessness challenge that was announced last week.
Mantha told ElliotLakeToday that he was looking into participating for an evening via live stream from Queen’s Park in Toronto.
He wants to work with security to find out what he is allowed to do on the property. If Mantha is given the go-ahead, his plan is to “just sleep under a tree on the front lawn of Queen’s Park.”
He commends Mayor Marchisella for making a statement with this challenge. He said he was “shocked and proud” when he heard the Mayor’s announcement. He has much respect for everyone who is participating and creating awareness in our area.
He says that the people who “work at these shelters are special individuals” and they somehow manage to “do the impossible with the resources they have.”
Mantha says that we really need to challenge ourselves in regards to how we are going to be able to provide assistance to these homeless individuals. He wants to bring minds together to figure out a way on how to move forward locally with this issue.
Once we address the situation locally, we can use the knowledge we gain to help the region, Northern Ontario and the Province, says Mantha.
Mantha also says that homelessness is not as visible in Northern Ontario as some cities in the south. He is also aware of the perception society has towards homeless people.
“People can choose to be aware and educate themselves” on what’s going on in their community. He says that sometimes people find it easier to “just turn a blind eye” to the situation.
Mantha said that he was personally aware of the current homelessness situation in our area and that Larry’s Place doesn’t receive any government funding.
“Very few shelters are specifically geared to men and we need to change that,” he said. Mantha also recognizes that men “need a hand up just like anyone else.”
ElliotLakeToday asked Mantha if he was willing to collaborate with MP Carol Hughes to bring awareness to our local homelessness situation.
MPP Michael Mantha said that he would be willing to work with all involved parties in hopes to bring more public awareness and funding to this social crisis.