Unhoused FarmersMarket 04 28Sep22

- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

What do you do behind the closed door of your home? Prepare your meals. Wash your dishes. Have a cup of tea. Take your pills. Do your laundry.

What do you do behind the closed door of your bedroom? Sleep. Have sex. Change your clothes. Masturbate.

What do you do behind the closed door of your bathroom? Pee. Poop. Brush your teeth. Get naked. Wash yourself. Masturbate. Clean your wounds and change your bandages.

Now, if you don't have any doors – not to a home, or a bedroom, or a bathroom. No bathroom. No water. Where do you do all these things?

Some can be done outdoors, in reasonable weather. At a picnic table, or on a bench, even on the ground. Some can be done in a picnic shelter or the bandstand, but not in the dark for safety reasons. (Whose safety is unclear.)

You can do some of these things in public washrooms, during operating hours, if it's not a Sunday. Or a porta-potty if it is. I'm a 69 year old woman with a home, and if you ask me (behind a closed door) I can tell you where I have had to pee outdoors in downtown Owen Sound.

Some of it gets done at a laundromat, when there's money. Or at Safe n' Sound, when there's not, and if you are allowed in. Some of it gets done when S.O.S, or one of the CMHA spaces are operating.

Sometimes it gets done with a bottle of water from the church ladies, or a friendly business, or water from the river, or the cenotaph.

WaterEverywhere NotADropToDrinkHere 08Sep22

Access to public washrooms in downtown Owen Sound was one of the items flagged by the consultants who re-branded the area “The River District”. They said  it was one of the barriers,  along with “perception of safety”, to broader local acceptance of the area as a good place to spend time.

Interestingly, even though their report is only a few years old, people without doors or water were not on their list of concerns.

I think things have changed and people in Owen Sound are increasingly concerned, both for their own comfort in being in the downtown core, and for those of their neighbours without comfort.

Or doors.

Unhoused FarmersMarket 04 28Sep22




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