Complaints dismissed, permit not required for London homeless shelter

A city official is confirming bylaw complaints have been dismissed and no permit is required for tents on church property set up as part of a program to shelter homeless men.

Last Wednesday, Pastor Dan Morand of Beth Emanuel Church on Grey Street in London, Ont.’s SoHo neighbourhood said the tents would not be coming down despite complaints having been lodged with the city.

At the time, the bylaw office confirmed it had received at least five complaints, the majority of which focused on concerns regarding the safety of the tents.

On Thursday, the city’s homeless prevention manager Craig Cooper told Global News that the site has been inspected.

“I don’t know all the specifics of the building code but the building inspectors that were out there noted that the tents were set up far enough apart and the sizing was under the requirements for that building permit,” he explained.

“That was the determination — no building permit was required and they’ve closed their file.”

“We did mention with Dan last week to continue to contact ESA (electrical safety authority) to make sure any electrical work they need to do for the heaters are properly installed and inspected. As well, we’ve notified fire services to go out and have a conversation with Dan as well around any challenges they may have with the tents, but from our perspective on the complaints-basis, we’ve closed our file.”

Morand and Urban Haven Project are planning to provide shelter for up to 20 homeless men looking to find work, enter rehab, return to school, or any other forward-momentum plan.

Cooper said the outreach team through London Cares will keep in contact with Morand and have requested that he keep them informed, as the program moves forward, so that they can help make sure that those involved aren’t discharged back into homelessness.

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