Advocate group’s letter calls for regional transparency on encampment closure

By Brandon Maher

An open letter is calling on the region for clarification on the closure of an encampment in Cambridge.

The letter, written by the Unsheltered Campaign, stated that the involuntary closure of the encampment on 150 Main Street, and the end of the motel shelter program, raises human rights concerns and will cause harm to unsheltered neighbours.

The community advocate group wrote that residents of the Cambridge encampment felt pressured to leave, despite the region presenting the move as voluntary.

They cite Justice Valente’s January 2023 court ruling regarding the 100 Victoria Street encampment in Kitchener, which stated that evicting residents sheltering on public land violated their charter rights, when there is an absence of accessible and adequate shelter options.

The letter called for transparency on how the encampment was closed, and what the next steps are for residents who were staying in motels.

This comes after the region removed the encampment on 150 Main Street in late August, and called the site ‘a risky place that was never sanctioned’.

In a statement provided to CityNews 570, Peter Sweeney, commissioner of community services, confirmed that the region met with members of the Unsheltered Campaign Thursday afternoon.

Sweeney called working with community and grassroots organizations vital to ending chronic homelessness in Waterloo region.

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