Single mothers Janelle Gambler and Natasha Guyan no longer feel safe in their neighbourhood after receiving what they consider a hate-filled letter Thursday morning.
Guyan has lived in a Manitoba Housing row house in the 700 block of Park Avenue for five years. Her next-door neighbour, Gambler, moved to the area in late February.
They separately discovered handwritten notes folded and stuck in their mailboxes. The letters were unaddressed and had no return address or sender name.
"Neighbour — I realize your arrival among the civilized is very recent," opens the letter, which then goes on to detail their "unacceptable behaviour," the "eyesore" that is the women’s front yards and false allegations that they do not pay for the homes.
The letter writer then goes on to accuse the duo of devaluing the surrounding properties.
"We also have supplied you with a backyard for your children to play on, please use it," reads the letter.
While the letter does not explicitly makes threats, Guyan said, she feels it is implied.
They said they feel like they were the targets of these notes because they are low-income single moms.
Before receiving the letter, they both loved the neighbourhood and said they felt everyone was watching out for each other.
Now, they no longer feel safe because they are worried about the security of their children and themselves.
"Is it a broken window next? Another hate letter?" Gambler said. "We don’t know what’s going to happen."
The duo is used to trading tips on being moms and talking about their kids, not wondering which neighbour is leaving threatening letters.
"It’s scary," Guyan said.
At first, they thought they were the only ones to receive the note, which felt incredibly isolating, Guyan said. The specific mentions of their income and children made it feel like a personal attack.
Finding the letter was hard to accept at first, Gambler said.
"I was really upset, I felt really low of myself."
The lack of available information has left them wondering who sent it.
"You feel like you’re walking on eggshells in our own yards, in our own homes," Gambler said.
They assume the letters were dropped sometime late Wednesday night.
"I was up until about midnight," Guyan said. "I didn’t see anybody, I didn’t hear nobody walk up to my house. I didn’t even hear my mailbox."
Guyan read the note first thing in the morning. She discovered it when she was taking her daughter to school.
"We have to protect our children," Gamber said, tearing up. "Why should we feel scared for our families."
They could not understand why someone would write a note like this.
Neither parent has told their kids about the letter.
Gambler said she wouldn’t let her daughter go out into the yard after receiving the note.
She is angry about the letter, but is trying to stay positive. Gambler plans on getting bubbles and chalk for her kids to play with outside as a way to reclaim her neighbourhood.
They said they planned to report the incident to police after notifying Manitoba Housing.
A spokesman for Manitoba Housing could not be reached for comment Friday.
The two women said they hope the individual that left the note is caught, and that they receive more than a slap on the wrist.
"Something has to be done," Guyan said. "We shouldn’t have to live scared."
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