Advocates for Hamilton’s homeless population staged a solidarity picket at city-run parks and recreation facilities on Friday, just days after court action failed to stop the city from dismantling small campgrounds in the parks.
Members of the Hamilton Camp Support Network (HESN) gathered at the public works yard on Studeholme Road, near the Chedoke Golf Course, to stop the trucks they say are responsible for carrying out the evictions. from the camps during the day.
“Since the failed court order, we have seen a rapid escalation of demolitions with the idea of making homeless people disappear,” said a speaker at the rally.
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“The residents of the camp are forced to disappear over the cliff away from their own communities, where they are in much more danger than where they were.”
A spokesman for the city of Hamilton confirmed that 30 employees and about 10 vehicles were unable to attend workplaces as a result of the protests.
“The city respects the right of people to protest peacefully, but must also ensure the safety and respectful treatment of city personnel at their workplace,” Senior Communications Officer Michelle Shantz said in an email.
“Most of the staff at the site were sent home. The remaining staff were reassigned to other workplaces and workplaces today. “
The rally comes after Superior Court Judge Andrew J. Goodman ruled against a group of homeless residents seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the City of Hamilton from relocating homeless residents from the parks of the city.
On the same day as the court decision, the city issued a statement saying it would resume enforcement of the park’s statutes.
In making his decision, the judge said the evidence presented by the attorney at the hearing showed that the city “continues to take reasonable steps to make safe shelter and accommodation available.”
For two days, October 21-22, Goodman heard verbal arguments from an attorney using written testimonies from doctors, residents, and outreach personnel related to the camp issue.
The city attorney argued that the facilities in the city parks were causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to trees, lawns and other permanent structures, as well as spreading safety concerns, unauthorized use of electricity and calls to clean needles. discarded and drug paraphernalia.
The applicants suggested that the city has not created any new shelter spaces for the homeless, citing recent dates in mid-October when the director of housing services stated that the system did not have enough beds on any given night.
Since the decision, the city says extension staff have offered 40 people from the camps space in shelters or hotels.
Only 12 people and couples have accepted the offer to date.
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“Sometimes people may initially decline an offer of shelter or not make it to the shelter for different reasons,” Shantz said.
“Outreach staff remain committed to these individuals and continue their outreach activities and offer shelter support, referral to community supports, and development of housing plans.”
As of November 2, the city says there are 507 emergency shelter beds in Hamilton.
The (HESN) demands that the demolition of camps be stopped and that resources be redirected towards creating affordable housing.
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