Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,
Encampments have long been hidden from public view, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, encampments have become more publicly visible. This article has information on the City’s response to encampments.
For more details, please continue reading below…
Encampments, as defined by the City, are locations where one or more people live in an unsheltered area setup either on private or public property. Encampments may appear as a single tent, or a group of tents. Encampments are not just a city-wide problem, but a national problem – affecting even smaller municipalities like Brantford and Moncton to bigger cities like Hamilton, Winnipeg and Montreal.
Health, social and economic inequities continue to be major factors involved in the ongoing homelessness crisis in our city and nationwide, and explains why encampments have become more visible over the last few years; but especially this last one. The City’s affordable housing crisis, already at fraught levels in 2018, has worsened during the ongoing pandemic – with rental increases of around 5.4%, well above the provincial average of 2.2%.
With recent reports from residents across the Ward, encampments have been noticed around Southam, Buchanan, Rolston and Sam Lawrence Park, we wanted to share with you how the City is responding to those currently facing homelessness.
The City’s Encampment Response Protocol provides a guide on how staff of the City’s Encampment Response Team and homeless-serving partners work to engage those residing in encampments, and to help them transition to safer and legal accommodations. The City engages with individual(s) and works with them to find suitable housing or shelter options. According to the City’s protocol, encampments are only scheduled to be cleared once everyone at that location has been assessed, been offered a safe, indoor space; and notice has been provided to give people time and help to collect personal belongings.
After notifying the Response Team of encampments across the Ward, the Encampment Response Team communicated with the Ward 8 office that they continue to engage with individuals on the street and work with them to identify suitable options for shelter or housing. They reiterated that although at times it may appear that encampments are being left alone, that that is not the case and they continue to engage constantly with individuals experiencing homelessness and have been moving people into shelters or housing throughout the pandemic. The team remains challenged by the volume of need at the moment, but they have not changed their approach.
We appreciate everyone’s patience, concern and understanding during these difficult times and can assure you that the Encampment Response Team is addressing concerns sent their way.
For any residents who may still have general questions about encampments process, protocols, or would like to report an encampment can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-546-2828. Residents can also visit www.hamilton.ca/unsheltered for further information on the City’s Encampment Response.
Questions or concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our office here.