A Vancouver man who spent a month in at one of the Lookout Society’s shelters says conditions there are out of control.
Steve, who declined to give his last name, says he ran into tough times after moving home from Winnipeg and ended up at the Yukon shelter.
He’s nearly 60 and has diabetes and back problems.
But he says the people he shared the place with terrified him.
“You should hear some of the language they use aginst the people that work there, it’s ridiculous. I don’t know how they can put up with it. I mean, they’re called all kinds of things in the book. They’re violent, throwing food around. I mean, I was scared to death.”
Steve says drug and alcohol use were rampant and he felt like healthy young people were using it as a crash pad.
During last year’s tent city in Oppenhiemer Park, many campers said they preferred to sleep outdoors because they felt unsafe in the city’s shelters.
Lookout executive director Shayne Williams says shelters can be frightening to someone who’s new to the experience.
“Pockets of people can show up in the shelter and sometimes people will be very daunting for folks who aren’t used to the shelter system.”
Williams says staff deal with many challenging situations but they are well trained to do so.