The following is a statement from the Halifax Regional Municipality regarding the removal of temporary shelters located on municipal property.
Today, a notice is being issued to advise occupants of temporary shelters located on municipal property that they must vacate and remove all personal belongings. The notice also advises those who installed the temporary shelters that they must remove the structures from municipal property. A deadline date of July 13, 2021 has been given to remove the shelters – failing which, the shelters, and any personal items contained within the shelters, will be removed by the municipality on or shortly after this date without further notice.
Placing anything in a park for the purpose of temporary or permanent accommodation is not permitted under By-Law P-600 Section 8(2).
The municipality’s approach to homeless encampments centres on treating people experiencing homelessness in our public spaces with dignity while working to find ways to best support them within our capacity and scope as a municipality. From the outset, the approach has been to allow occupants of homeless encampments to remain until adequate housing has been identified and offered, or until the health and safety of the occupants or public are at risk. This approach does not condone or support the installation of infrastructure associated with encampments.
The province has been working to ensure all current occupants of the temporary shelters will be offered a temporary accommodation option that can bridge to permanent housing.
As the temporary shelters were constructed in the colder months, they were able to remain on-site while the province, as well as community-based partners including the Street Outreach Navigators and Housing Support Workers, offered those experiencing homelessness with support – including a range of housing options and/ or temporary accommodation. Removal of the shelters by the municipality was further postponed until COVID-related public health restrictions were eased.
To date, five individuals who had previously been occupying a temporary shelter have accepted a housing solution.
Housing as a human right does not mean that this right can encroach upon the rights of others. With the safety of all residents as a top priority, encroachment must be acted upon by appropriate enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
Moving forward, upon being made aware of the installation of temporary shelters on municipal property, the municipality will take steps to facilitate removal or stop installation in a timely manner. It is important to remember that those experiencing homelessness can choose to accept or decline housing options and offers of support.
As housing insecurity continues to be an issue in the region, work with community partners and other levels of government has significantly accelerated, and collaboration has expanded to help address both affordable housing and homelessness.
For more information on the municipality’s approach to homelessness and initiatives to support for affordable housing, visit halifax.ca.
Source: Release #notw