An advocate for the homeless has fallen on hard times and is now homeless himself and is living at "Tent City Hall."
Shane Moyer speaks on behalf of 10 people who are living and sleeping — as both a form of protest and out of necessity — under the trees next to Leger Square, outside North Bay City Hall and the public library.
"We need them to listen," he says, pointing across the square to City Hall. "They have no choice but to take notice."
Sunday night, from the makeshift compound containing about 10 tents and gazebos combined, Moyer says advocacy groups such as Boots on the Ground and the local Night Hawks group for which he is an administrator, have been spreading the word about their mission and he expects the group's presence to grow outside City Hall.
Moyer says he has been in this position before but he worries about the growing population of homeless in North Bay — he claims there are 120 at last count. Moyer says he will be fine but now he is taking a stand against what he calls inaction and ineffectiveness by municipal officials and agencies, especially when it comes to a lack of affordable housing.
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"The goal is to get all of the homeless in off the street," observes Moyer. "We need to get these people housed or at least into some kind of transitional housing — which as of now, doesn't exist."
As one man eats dinner from nearby H.O.P.E.'s Kitchen at a picnic table, he says the services available to folks on the street are appreciated but all have some flaws, mainly that there isn't enough room for everyone who needs those services.
Although the weather over the weekend was above seasonal and the nights were relatively warm, the winter looms and this is why this group is advocating for improvements.
"Who can afford $1,250 for a one-bedroom?" asks Moyer. "Another problem we have are landlords who don't do the upkeep to the properties." He adds housing issues cut both ways, as "we have some homeless that destroy these properties."
Asked what can improve these conditions, Moyer responds, "We have to find a solution because there's good and bad on both sides," adding many are forced to live in sub-standard, bug- and rodent-infested rentals.
Moyer says he is staying put at Tent City Hall "until it's too cold not to." He says North Bay Police officers have been by for a visit but have not yet asked them to move along.
"There's no place like home for the homeless," he adds.