ontario news watch

Newfoundland homeless placed in for-profit shelter littered with rodent feces

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A homeless man who had been living in a tent across from Newfoundland and Labrador’s legislature building led media today through the soiled private shelter he says he was placed in by provincial housing officials.

Stephen Blake opened drawers in the for-profit shelter’s kitchen in St. John’s, N.L., to reveal nothing but rodent droppings and a naloxone kit, used to reverse the effect of an opioid overdose.

He flicked switches on the stove to show that its burners didn’t work, and he pointed to a sealed-off thermostat that prevented residents from raising the temperature in the cold building.

Blake said he doesn’t understand why the home is kept in such condition.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government contracts private landlords to provide emergency shelter for homeless people when shelters run by non-profits in the province are full.

New Democrat Leader Jim Dinn joined the media tour today and noted that the province spent more than $5 million on for-profit shelters last fiscal year — a sum he said would have been better spent building housing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press