Left to right: Dayna Mastre, a former employee at the Extreme Weather Shelter, Veronica Fenton, a volunteer and supporter of the protest, and Victor Loyie, who is living on the streets, all say that the homeless in Prince Rupert are mistreated and verbally abused at the shelter. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Weekend-long tent city protest comes to an end, here’s what happened

Homeless people and supporters camped at Prince Rupert’s city hall protesting Extreme Weather Shelter

The homeless people who were allegedly kicked out of the Extreme Weather Shelter for extend periods of time without cause are now allowed back in.

The tents outside city hall were packed up Monday evening as the protest against the treatment of the homeless at the shelter came to an end with a positive resolution.

The tent city was set up Friday night at 8:30 p.m. by Dayna Mastre — who worked at the homeless shelter for six months before being let go — and Veronica Fenton — a supporter of homeless people — after alleging that Prince Rupert’s homeless people were being mistreated by the shelter’s employees.

Steve Jaeger, one of the homeless people at the tent city, alleged that last week he was kicked out of the shelter over heating up a bun thirty minutes after the kitchen was closed. Jaeger said he was subsequently barred from the building for four days resulting in him living in an alleyway.

“I then got beat up in that alley,” he said with two black and blue eyes.

Jaeger’s complaint was one of many that Fenton and Mastre were trying to bring attention to.

READ MORE: Tents pitched outside City Hall to protest the treatment of Prince Rupert’s homeless

Christine White, executive director of the Transition Society, is currently out of town but stated over text message that due to the confidentiality policies of the shelter they cannot confirm or publicly address any specific issues.

“In conjunction with the City of Prince Rupert and the RCMP, we are taking very seriously all matters that have been brought to our attention. [We] wish to assure the community that we are working diligently and expeditiously to resolve them,” White stated.

Mayor Lee Brain is currently out of town and could not be reached for comment.

On Sunday evening RCMP inspector Blake Ward held a mediation with the Transition Society and the two leaders of the protest to come to an understanding.

“I helped mediate the discussions. I think one of the issues was communication. They sorted out some of their challenges and issues and hopefully will continue to take steps forward to continue improving things,” Ward said.

The RCMP will not continue to intervene in the dispute involving the rules of the Transition Society, aside from any criminal related concerns.

Fenton and Mastre both said that one of the resolutions presented was an agreement that all homeless people who were kicked out — with the exception of those who were physically violent — will be allowed back in.

Fenton said that workers at the shelter also abide by their own arbitrary rules, which was one of the issues discussed.

“I really believe something is going to happen now,” Mastre said.

Jaeger also said there are other issues beyond abuse that should be dealt with at the shelter such as broken washers and no adequate space to care for personal hygiene.

“It’s not their fault, it’s not my fault. I am just happy to be indoors because it’s scary to be homeless. But there are issues and huge barriers that need to be addressed,” Jaeger said.

READ MORE: LETTER: No empathy for Prince Rupert’s homeless


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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