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When motel owner Murray Sallis was contacted about renting rooms to social assistance clients, he thought it would be a good opportunity.
Instead, he said those tenants didn’t have supports they needed and two of the five ended up assaulting him.
“That just shouldn’t be happening,” he said.
Anchor Motel and Suites, which Sallis owns, has 20 units next to Route 1A in Bedeque, an area where business is slow in the off-season.
Sallis said the province paid a deposit and one month rent for the tenants.
His understanding was that the province would continue to support the tenants, but that didn’t happen, Sallis said.
“They basically bring people here and say ‘you’re on your own’.”
It’s one thing to provide housing for people going into the winter months, Sallis said, but it’s another to not follow up with them.
Sallis said some of the tenants had addictions or mental health issues he wasn’t told about and there was no support for them.
“You can’t just throw these people back into the community and expect them to fend for themselves,” he said.
In one case, Sallis said a tenant ripped a TV off a wall and threw it into the parking lot.
He said that tenant had a mental illness and shouldn’t have been housed in the motel or should have had someone from the province following up with him.
“I feel sorry for the individual because he’s mentally ill and deserves better treatment than that from the government.”
In a different case, Sallis said a tenant he was evicting pushed him down and hit him in the face.
Sallis said he was previously assaulted while working in the hotel industry about 25 years ago when someone shoved him.
Then he had the more recent two assaults.
“Twice in that short period of time was quite a jolt,” Sallis said.
The Guardian requested an interview with someone from the Family and Human Services Department about Sallis’ concerns.
An e-mail response from a spokeswoman said a director from the department contacted Sallis and “sincerely appreciated having the opportunity to follow up with him directly”.
The response also said the department couldn’t speak about specific cases or individuals.
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