New proposal suggests changing Toronto’s approach to encampments from enforcement to outreach

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From enforcement to outreach: report proposes new approach to Toronto encampments - Toronto



“Toronto Considers New Approach to Clearing Homeless Encampments

A new report in Toronto suggests a different strategy when it comes to clearing homeless encampments. The proposal emphasizes clearing as a last resort, with a minimum of 72 hours notice given to those affected. This shift in approach aims to prioritize outreach and housing solutions over immediate enforcement.

Recommendations for a More Compassionate Approach

The report, compiled by Toronto’s shelter and support services department, highlights the need for an expanded outreach model. This model focuses on helping individuals in encampments transition to stable housing. Additionally, the report suggests implementing clear procedures for notifying and carrying out enforcement actions, including providing written notice to those involved.

However, the report also acknowledges the necessity for immediate action in cases where public safety or health concerns arise. This caveat allows the city to act swiftly when necessary, even without prior notice.

Challenges Faced by Canadian Cities

Toronto is just one of many Canadian cities struggling with increasing homelessness and strained shelter systems. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues, leading to the emergence of encampments in parks as individuals sought refuge outside crowded shelters.

Last year, an investigation by Toronto’s ombudsman revealed shortcomings in the city’s handling of homeless encampments. The report found that the city’s actions caused harm and lacked respect for those residing in parks during encampment clearances.

Moving Towards a Sustainable Solution

Councilor Alejandra Bravo emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety and communication in the process of addressing encampments. The report advocates for a shift away from the traditional enforcement-focused approach, which often displaces individuals without providing long-term solutions.

Bravo highlighted the need for transparency and understanding in dealing with encampments, stating that safety considerations should dictate removal actions. She emphasized the importance of explaining to individuals why and how removals will occur, ensuring a more compassionate and informed process.

In Conclusion

As Toronto grapples with the complexities of homelessness and encampments, the proposed changes offer a step towards a more humane and effective solution. By prioritizing outreach, housing, and communication, the city aims to address the root causes of homelessness while ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.

In a society that prides itself on compassion and empathy, it is essential to approach issues of homelessness with understanding and respect. Only by working together and listening to diverse perspectives can we create a future where everyone has a safe place to call home.”



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