Encampment Resident Welcomes Anyone Including Mayor To Come Visit

In Local

An encampment resident said he welcomes anyone, including the mayor to sit down and learn about what is taking place.

Chris Kneiland’s along with his common-law partner and others were turfed from their residence on Division Street, just north of University Avenue in July 2023.

Since then the couple have been homeless.

After Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland held a “Year in Review” at the Cobourg Community Centre, Kneiland’s reached out to Today’s Northumberland asking to tell what they live with at the encampment.

Kneiland said at his tent that what he heard from the Cleveland that night needs to be backed up.

“It’s not fact – it’s just information that he’s spouting. I would love it for him to site the information or where he’s getting it from.”

Kneiland said he’d love to participate in the conversation, but said all Cleveland is doing is “preaching.”

Kneiland said the mayor taking credit for shutting down the houses, “has now contributed to the homeless problem. Because all these people were staying at my house.”

What is being offered to Kneiland since he, his common-law partner and their pets were turfed from Division Street isn’t working.

“My wife and I can’t be together as a couple, we can’t share a room. Our pets can’t come. The hours. Some people just don’t like authority.”

Kneiland said, “the statue says truly accessible housing.”

Now that the colder weather is coming Today’s Northumberland asked how the encampment residents are coping.

“No one chooses to live like this. It’s not like we woke up and said, “hey let’s go live in a tent for the winter.”

Kneiland said they had homes and paid their rent.

“There is just no place to go.”

But since the town shut down their home, there is no more homeless people on the street.

“They said my house wasn’t safe for human occupancy, but the streets are safer – which I don’t understand that logic.”

Kneiland said his house was “clean.”

“There was supposedly a leaky pipe in the basement – which there wasn’t.”

And Kneiland said that will be addressed.

With Northumberland County buying 310 Division Street for $2.3 million said the shelter spaces have been increased by three.

“We’ll see what they come up with.”

With the purchase being in the early stages, Kneiland said there is always hope, to a point.

From what he understands The Warming Hub, Transition House and the hotel program will be combined.

Kneiland said the hotel program worked for some people and he wouldn’t take that away.

“I don’t think it will work. But really you’ve only increased the shelter spaces by three. So now those 12 hotel rooms will no longer be available. So you’ve decreased the shelter spaces by nine.”

Currently there are 19 people living in the encampment at the former Brookside Youth Centre.

If people want to provide donations to the encampment they are looking for batteries, firewood, water and hand sanitizer.

A video taken by Today’s Northumberland that showed numerous cans being taken away for disposal was a mistake.

“That wasn’t supposed to be taken out of here. They just assumed it was garbage because it was in a storage tent we had.”

The bottom line Kneiland said is for Cleveland to get the facts first.

For anyone else that would like to come down, please do so.

“Try it out. Say “hi.” We’re good people, we’re just in a bad situation.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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