A B.C. homeless man wants to continue to live in the streets, but he says the city he’s lived in for decades is making it increasingly difficult for him.
Ryan Ashe suffered a brain injury in a car accident several years ago and has been homeless in the city of White Rock for 20 years.
Ashe says he’s content to be on the streets, even though he has money in the bank and family living in the community, south of Vancouver.
“I don't need a lot of pushing and shoving in my life,” he said.
White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said in an email to CBC News that residents had complained Ashe was obstructing a bus stop with shopping carts full of possessions and some people didn't feel safe.
Social service agencies have been called in, but Baldwin says the bottom line is that Ashe can't set up camp at the bus stop forever.
Ashe has refused assistance.
“I get mixed up with their issues,’ He said. “People like to get their issues in my face, I don't have time for other peoples issues."
White Rock City Coun. Heather Fathers said she considers Ashe a friend.
"At some point he did have a place to stay, but Ryan prefers to live outside and he prefers not to be medicated. That's his choice," Fathers said.
There are municipal bylaws that make it illegal in most places in the city for people to camp overnight, but they are rarely enforced.
Advocate Scott Bernstein, of the Pivot Legal Society, said he wants to see the bylaws changed.
"I think we would like to recognize that homeless people are not an obstruction. To not be prohibited from sleeping outdoors and say that they do have a right to sleep outdoors," Bernstein said.
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