CKMS News – 2020-08-25 – Tent encampments threatened by authorities while Waterloo Regional council approves new dorm-style shelters.

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Host: Trish Holmes

UPDATE: The encampment at Victoria and Weber has been dismantled. The residents did not find a suitable arrangement that could house all of them.

This half hour examines the Waterloo Region Council meeting on August 11 where housing advocates commented on the Region’s new men’s shelter plan and presented some of the homeless and unsheltered communities’ biggest challenges. Then we speak with Lesley Crompton, a local anti-homelessness advocate for a more in-depth analysis of the issues raised at the meeting.

At the recent Waterloo Regional Council meeting, Council approved two dorm-style shelters with 24-hour access and supports in an unusually long meeting during which Region staff presented the Emergency Shelter Planning Update followed by short presentations by five housing advocates.

Each speaker advocated for specific areas of need in the unsheltered communities and the shelter system. This included

*stressing the need for more transition housing and more permanent affordable housing; decriminalizing homelessness;

*considering a human rights approach to obtaining zero homelessness;

*lowering specific barriers and reforming shelters generally  in partnership with a variety of communities, including the homeless themselves; and

*providing basic amenities, such as water and sanitation for encampments and more Lot42-style housing communities.

Each delegate agreed that more spaces need to be made available and more work needs to be done to get people into permanent housing.

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This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” grant program and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, the Government of Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

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