Court rules City of Hamilton cannot remove people from homeless encampments

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Published July 30, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Homeless man
(Stock image)

Thursday (July 30), the Superior Court of Justice granted an injunction that restrains the City of Hamilton from taking any or further steps to evict or involuntarily remove individuals from e

Thursday (July 30), the Superior Court of Justice granted an injunction that restrains the City of Hamilton from taking any or further steps to evict or involuntarily remove individuals from encampments.

The request was made by a coalition that includes the Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team (HAMSMaRT), Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, Ross & McBride LLP, and Keeping Six, a social medicine response team, which had urged the city not to clear away encampments unless they are “able to provide encampment residents with access to safe indoor spaces and interim to permanent housing with the appropriate supports”.

The City of Hamilton issued a news release, stating it “has been, and will continue to do individual outreach to engage daily and help individuals experiencing homelessness in our community so they are aware of what their options are to find shelter and/or legal housing alternatives on voluntary basis, and which is dependent on individual circumstances and the available options”.

Staff said it will continue working together with homeless-serving agency partners, in compliance with the injunction, to connect individuals sleeping rough with available community resources and supports as required.

“In an effort to maximize the choices available, the City and service/shelter providers are committed to further explore all opportunities within housing, shelters and hotel accommodations to provide greater access to individuals currently in encampments,” concluded the City of Hamilton.

Dozens of tents have popped up during the pandemic, which some councillors say has led to constituent complaints about trash, noise, violence, and public substance use.

HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six said they were notified by city staff of their plan to dismantle the encampments at the First Ontario Centre and the Ferguson Street encampment on Friday (July 31).

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