From: Darren D. MacDonald and Philip St. George, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY — Homelessness has been in the forefront of the news in North Bay. But the conversation which once centered on where to put the emergency homeless shelter (or more accurately, where not to put it) has taken a new turn.
“The solution is simple!” raves citizen and “highly educated homeless peoples expert” Mack Mendoza. “Just bus our homeless down south! Or north! Or east! It doesn’t matter, and that’s the beautiful part – once they are gone we don’t have to worry about them!”
Mendoza has created ‘TAG, You’re It!”– a 100% community funded program which will see Mendoza give whoever he deems as “homeless” a ticket to “anywhere but North Bay.”
“By funding TAG, you’re helping the homeless out. And by that, I mean helping them out of North Bay with a one way bus ticket to Hamilton, Thunder Bay or even Winnipeg depending on how much we raise and if we want to get real fancy with it.”
Mendoza’s new crowd funded program follows a very real local push to get rid of the homeless rather than develop a system that could help those in a vulnerable situation.
[Editor’s Note: the following posts are all real, locally sourced comments taken from various North Bay focused Facebook groups]
“Before you say anything – I’m not stupid,” says Mendoza. “I know that other cities might just ship the homeless people back, but that’s why we need to raise even more money to keep shipping them out.”
“It’s a war of attrition, in which we continue to treat the homeless like sub-human chattel whom we can, at any time, exercise our will over solely because we have a mailing address.”
Breaking the chain
“These individuals are human beings, not a pest that you can terminate,” explains Lena Roberts, a regular volunteer at the Pete Palangio emergency homeless shelter. “We need to help these people. We can’t be another link in the chain of mistreatment.”
Many have suggested a more comprehensive plan for helping the homelessness in North Bay, but without any serious commitment or funding, nothing will be done.
That’s why Mendoza remains committed to the “TAG, You’re It” initiative.
“No one in City Hall is doing anything, so with your hard-earned and happily donated dollars I’M going to do something,” says Mendoza. ”For the low, low cost of dozens or hundreds of bus tickets, we can not only get rid of the homeless, but also eliminate the cost of sending law enforcement all over town to reluctantly harass the homeless population.”
“Unless, you know, that’s something people are into. In which case, I’ll happily start a Kickstarter so we can hire private security to drop the homeless outside of town with nothing but the shirt they’re wearing.”
“I’m 100% serious when I say I’m sure there’s folks living in North Bay who would absolutely love that.”