Dozens evicted from homeless camps in Brampton due to flood risk, city says

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Published June 17, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo

Residents of homeless encampments that popped up in a floodplain in Brampton have been ordered not to return for at least a year.

Workers have evicted people living in a community of encampments along the Etobicoke Creek following safety concerns about the makeshift community, which the city says was in a flood zone.

There had also been an “increase in crime and fires within encampments,” which were cleared out by the city and Peel Region earlier this month.

Over 30 people were displaced when the camps were broken up with the city saying trespassing notices were handed out. Residents were offered relocation to a “stable housing option” through Peel’s shelter system, which the city said would “ensure both the safety and connection to supports for those within encampments.”

“No trespassing notices were issued without ensuring capacity is available at Peel Regional shelters or temporary housing support,” the city said.

Brampton City Coun. Rowena Santos brought the encampment issue to council chambers in April, saying the region’s Human Services department continued to “drag their feet” on clearing the camps from city-owned land.

Council unanimously passed a motion calling on the region to move people out of the flood zone and into shelters, which are also dealing with capacity issues.

The region manages all the shelter services for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon and has experienced a surge in demand over recent years. At least two people have died waiting to get into Peel shelters.

In November, an asylum claimant in his 40s died in an encampment outside Dundas Street East and Dixie Road. Then in February, an African refugee died after waiting hours to get into the shelter in Mississauga.

With shelter space at a premium, some agencies have turned to renting hotel rooms for clients.

Back in March, the region said over 1,200 households of asylum seekers are now being housed in Mississauga and Brampton shelters, making up some 70 per cent of all shelter stays.

Ottawa has committed $7 million in funding for a new welcome centre project at Pearson Airport to help deal with the influx of asylum seekers and manage the shelter crisis, but the region is asking for another $10 million in capital funds and $9.3 annually to get the centre built and keep it operational.

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