Toronto should only dismantle homeless encampments as a last resort | Toronto housing crisis

Toronto should only dismantle homeless encampments as a last resort | Toronto housing crisis
Toronto should only dismantle homeless encampments as a last resort | Toronto housing crisis

A report prepared by the municipal department responsible for Toronto’s shelters recommends dismantling homeless encampments only as a last resort and giving the people living there at least 72 hours’ notice.

The authors of the document also recommend expanding the intervention model which aims to direct camp residents to resources and accommodation.

They also propose establishing a clear procedure for carrying out dismantling, which includes a written message.

The report considers, however, that the City must have the prerogative to act without notice if a public safety, health or security issue requires immediate intervention.

Toronto is one of many Canadian cities grappling with homelessness and overflowing shelters.

Encampments in parks increased there when the pandemic began in 2020 and people stopped going to shelters for fear of being infected.

Last year, the municipal ombudsman concluded that the City had caused unnecessary harm and disrespected the people who lived there when it dismantled three encampments in the summer of 2021.

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Toronto police arrested around twenty people during the dismantling of makeshift camps near Lamport Stadium in the summer of 2021.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Evan Mitsui

During a press conference on Wednesday, municipal councilor Alejandra Bravo said the City has implemented 28 of the ombudsman’s 31 recommendations and continues to work to implement the final three.

The municipal report proposes avoiding the approach focused on the application of regulations and the dismantling of camps which does not work and just moves people from one place to anotheraccording to the advisor.

Although there is a lot of public pressure to demolish encampments, particularly in parks, it must be done safely, and people need to know why and how it will be done.

A quote from Alejandra Bravo, Toronto city councilor

As of May 5, the City says it has counted 256 camps installed on 131 of its properties.

With information from The Canadian Press

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