Grassroots movement against PC cuts springs from town hall meeting

A grassroots movement to challenge social funding cuts by the Doug Ford government is going to be formed as a result of a town hall meeting last night.

Legal Assistance of Windsor held the meeting which brought together people from different backgrounds to talk about how the funding cuts will affect them.

John Wiebe, who has a type of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. attends classes and programs at the Mental Health Connections organization on Erie Street and said he needs to go there to socialize or else he reverts backward into a reclusive state which can cause depression.

“Without a social networking, it would cause me to isolate which would only amplify the depression,” said Wiebe.

“There are moments when I will lose weight because I lose track of time,” he told the crowd of about 75 at the Alan Wildeman Center for the Creative Arts in downtown Windsor.

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Wiebe is concerned cuts to Legal Assistance of Windsor, which funds Mental Health Connections in part, would result in the loss of his therapy.

Legal Assistance is facing a cut of 30 per cent — which has executive director Marion Overholt afraid the rate of homelessness will increase as a result.

“Last year alone, we provided over 2,000 residents with assistance at landlord-tenant court to help them fight evictions so if we have to cut back on that service people are going to be evicted. We’re likely to end up with more people on the street,” said Overholt.

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky attended the meeting along with Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield.

Gretzky expects the grassroots movement will provide a voice to local people facing cuts.

“This is a really good start,” said Gretzky. “So how can everybody work together to get the message out that the direction that this government is not just the wrong direction. It’s a very, very bad and very dangerous direction.”

Some people signed up to be part of the grassroots movement at the meeting. Legal Assistance is also seeking others to join.