Good Shepherd Works Program helps bed bug sufferers in Hamilton, Ontario

by nobugsonme on February 26, 2010

in bed bugs

There have been a flurry of articles on bed bugs in Hamilton, Ontario this week.   Today, the Hamilton Spectator brings our attention to the Good Shepherd Works Program, which assists people in Hamilton who are dealing with bed bugs.  Ralph Guarino was one of those who benefitted:

“Oh my God, you’re sleeping and you get itchy. You start scratching and you can’t sleep anymore. It was pretty awful,” he says of his two year battle to get rid of them. “When you scratch too much, you start bleeding.”

The 45-year-old schizophrenia sufferer is finally bedbug-free thanks to a Good Shepherd crew that thoroughly vacuums and steam-cleans a place before pest control spraying and then returns in 10 to 14 days to do it all again if necessary.

Guarino is among hundreds of mostly poor Hamiltonians with bedbug infestations this past year. Many weren’t as lucky in getting rid of them.

“It’s a huge problem right now, and I don’t think people are grasping this,” says Matt Bowen, manager of the Good Shepherd Works Program, a social enterprise concentrating on the social aspects of business by giving jobs to people with employment barriers such as mental illness or learning disabilities.

The roster of 80 workers are paid $9.50 to $12 an hour to clean, paint, landscape and do lawn maintenance, but “the bedbug problem is our meat and potatoes,” treating 250 apartments a year, Bowen says. Hamilton’s social housing is their biggest client.

If you’re on a low income and dealing with bed bugs in Hamilton, Good Works may be able to help you.  The article notes,

The Good Shepherd Works Program can offer advice and sometimes advocacy for people who call its bedbug hotline at 905-525-5188, ext. 23.

We’ve long been fans of Toronto’s Bug and Scrub — another service that hires people who need work — in this case, shelter guests who are trained and paid to do bed bug prep and treatment, treatment which is priced right for those on low incomes.

What could be better than helping people who need work get work, and helping people who need help with bed bug prep and treatment to get good treatment?


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