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Our Furniture Bank will be launching a new option for bed bug remediation in Barrie and Simcoe County in 2021, and social housing organizations could not be more excited.

Thanks to a $131,100 grant provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Redwood Park Communities was able to, among other things, purchase and retrofit a 16ft mobile heating trailer which will be available for residents, organizations and business to rent this Spring.

A Spring launch is perfect timing given that infestations tend to increase during the summer months when students return home from school and folks travel for vacation.

According to Orkin, ten of the top 25 cities ranked worst for bed bug infestation in Canada are in Ontario, and seven of those are in the GTA. As one of the top five growth cities in Canada, due largely to the number of folks migrating from the GTA, it’s not surprising that Barrie experiences it’s fair share of bed bug infestations as well.

As noted in the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Bed Bug Resource Manual, “Infestations have crossed all class and economic divides, as the bed bug requires only a place to shelter from light and a host that is periodically present. However, because bed bugs can travel between apartment units and because they can be contracted from common areas, people living in multiple unit buildings, shared accommodation, and individuals using shelters or drop-ins are particularly at risk.” So, bed bug remediation is a common need among our community partners providing social and/or supportive housing and shelters.  

Although traditional sprays can be used to effectively treat many items in the home, they may not be effective or appropriate for all items, such as books and wooden pieces of furniture with joints that can provide safe harbour for pests. Furthermore, folks being forced to move from an infested home to a new location are often prohibited from bringing any personal items with them, including furniture and even family heirlooms. 

Now with the option of a mobile heating trailer, folks can safely and effectively treat the contents of an entire home in just a few hours! Not only is this a cost-effective option for individuals and those who provide social or supportive housing and shelter spaces, it’s an innovative one too.

The heat-treating option will prevent the need to purchase new furniture, save cities tons of landfill space, and protect the environment from the impact of dumping apartments worth of furniture – all while supporting the social enterprise component of the Furniture Bank!

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