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Homeless woman to the mayor: The problem can't be fixed!

'A lot of the homeless are drug addicts. They don't want help'

A roundtable organized by  Mayor Al McDonald for this afternoon will now include 50 attendees, up from 30, to discuss issues including addiction, homelessness, mental health, discarded needles, and poverty.

See: Mayor to hold roundtable on city's poverty, addiction and mental health problems

Not represented will be the homeless, addicted and mentally ill.

Deborah Edwards, 58, has fallen on hard times and now lives on the bank of Chippewa Creek. 

She told BayToday that she went to City Hall to ask if she could speak at the roundtable but was told no. She has some sobering advice to give.

"A lot of the homeless are drug addicts. They don't want help. They like the way they are. They steal, they lie, they cheat, they're sociopaths, they're a mess. You can't fix that.

"They're panhandling. So they're just feeding their drug habits. That's most of the homeless." She says there is no answer.

"I live in the bush and I don't ask nobody for nothing."

She says she's not an addict, but admits using pot to put herself to sleep and escape day to day pressures and to "cope with reality and life as it is."

Edwards' home is a small patch of ground among the weeds on the bank of Chippewa Creek. Some of her stuff hangs from tree branches drying out after rain the night before. A small fire she set to help dry her clothes is mostly ashes and small twiggs. She says firemen came by and ordered her to put it out. She's desperate for a tarp to keep the rain out, and not sure how much longer she can take the cold nights.

"It's been raining, it's cold, there was frost the night before." The women's shelter gave her a couple of blankets, and a neighbour on disability down the street also donated a blanket. She wears pants and socks layered up to sleep.

She says she became homeless after complaining her landlord was taking her welfare money. The landlord threw her out and she says social agencies have failed her. (Editor's note. The landlord disputes that claim)

She's afraid her life will not get better after the mayor's roundtable.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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