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.
This episode begins with a chat with Jeff Willmer who gives us an update on the “A Better Tent City” project at Lot42 in Kitchener.
The second half of the show is a story about a recent eviction from an emergency shelter. In the last week of July, during which the province of Ontario continued an emergency order due to the COVID-19 crisis, Monica Place in Cambridge gave a young single mother, Emma, and her one-year-old child 48 hours notice to move off their premises with little explanation. The unusual move was precipitated by a post on a local Facebook group page, in which a woman asserted that Emma left her child in 35-degree heat while she was smoking. Emma maintains the child was not in danger, she was not acting in anyway illegally or neglectfully. When contacted, Monica House confirmed the eviction but would not comment further.
Waterloo Region Yes In My Backyard (WR YIMBY) is advocating to increase housing density and in doing so they hope to increase affordable housing supply in Waterloo Region.
WR YIMBY co-founder Martin Asling speaks to us about the principles that drive YIMBY’s advocacy, the affordable housing and housing density challenges specific to Waterloo Region and how the response to the current COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that solutions can be found.