Head of Downtown Mission is camping out to raise awareness

Ron Dunn, executive director of the Downtown Mission, settles in for a 24-hour bench chat outside the mission Wellness Centre on Ouellette Ave, Windsor, October 25, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

He has pitched a tent, and he wants to talk about homelessness.

For the second year in a row, the executive director of the Downtown Mission is camping out overnight to bring attention to what he calls some of the most devastating issues plaguing downtown Windsor.

Ron Dunn is inviting the public to come by next week and talk to him about homelessness, poverty, addiction, and mental health. He said he wants to hear ideas on how the city can better address the issues.

He said in Windsor, one in six people live in poverty, and homelessness costs the Canadian economy $7 billion a year.

“I want to talk about the root causes. I want to talk about how systemic issues and how through collaboration we can serve those in need,” Dunn said.

Homelessness, addiction, and mental health have been much discussed during this municipal election campaign.

A recent roundtable on homelessness came up with some ideas to protect those living on the street during the cold winter months including opening a city-owned warehouse and increasing the number of outreach workers to help those suffering from addictions.

Mayor Drew Dilkens has pointed to plans to build 150 new affordable housing units on the city’s east side but does not support a tent city or opening a warehouse.

He is running against Matt Marchand, Tom Hensel, Frank Dyck, and Ernie Lamont.

Dunn will be sitting on a bench in front of the mission’s Wellness Centre on Ouellette Ave for 24 hours beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 11. In the evening, he will take shelter in a tent.