The City of Kingston will be enforcing its “No Camping” ordinance starting this week, meaning no vacant campers may be set up in public spaces.
But where will these campers go when local accommodation and facilities are nearing full capacity?
“It’s really, really hard being homeless. It’s really hard not having someone,” said Eli Whitley, who is homeless.
After many complaints from residents, Kingston City Council reinstated its camp protocol last week.
This means that no more homeless people will be allowed to camp in public parks or squares.
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“Ultimately, it’s disappointing,” said Gilles Charette, executive director of Trellis HIV and Community Care. “City staff have been working to expand our system with additional housing options for people. These won’t be ready until late summer and early fall. It’s still not quite enough to meet the needs in the community.”
The city says each person’s move will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
In a press release, the city says it will offer alternative service options, such as “housing, Integrated Care Hub access, motel/hotel, condo, medical care, storage and transportation.”
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The problem with relocating to shelters, however, is that some of them are operating at almost full capacity.
“What we don’t see in our system is a lot of capacity for people who are homeless and using substances. What we would call supportive living for harm reduction, there isn’t much of that in our system,” Charette said.
As for the campers, many of them have nowhere else to go.
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Whitley, one of the campers set up around the Integrated Care Hub, says he really doesn’t want to leave his spot but will continue to camp if evicted from his area.
“I’ll go camping somewhere else. You can come and find me and do it again and again. I’m homeless, so what? Every single person here is homeless, so what,” Whitley said.
Whitney says the constant evictions are difficult for the homeless population, who are trying to find some sort of stability while living in their tents.
“You can’t just throw us around like that, we’re not toys. We are humans. We are humans. We’re like everyone else who has a home,” Whitley said.
Enforcement of the no-camping ordinance begins this week, and once campers are notified of their eviction they have six hours to pack up and find another place to go — wherever that is may be.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8967321/kingston-encampment-protocol-enforcement-comes-into-effect/ Kingston, Ont. Enforcement of camp protocol comes into effect – Kingston