City of Cambridge’s attempt to evict two men experiencing homelessness from encampment blocked

Men experiencing homelessness in Cambridge will be allowed to stay at their encampment on Dundas St. despite the city’s attempts to evict them. The superior court blocked the eviction on Thursday (March 28) and will hear a motion for an injunction against the city.

Michael Nanos and Joseph Micallef say the City of Cambridge’s efforts to evict them from their encampment behind a gas station on Dundas St. violates their charter rights, and are looking for $10,000 in compensation from the city for the loss of property.

City of Cambridge bylaw officers posted a notice on the tents at their encampment that they would be evicted as of March 28. Bylaw also disposed of some items belonging to Nanos and Micallef and plans to remove and dispose of anything the two can’t carry with them if they are evicted.

Shannon Down is the executive director at Waterloo Region Community Legal Services, who represents the two men experiencing homelessness.

In January of last year, a judge blocked the region of Waterloo’s request to evict the residents of an encampment on Victoria St. in Kitchener. Down said that the decision, alongside other recent cases, set the groundwork for this case

“It’s a precedent that we’ll be relying on in terms of the charter arguments,” said Down.

Down added that, if evicted, the pair will have very few options, as housing is unaffordable for them and shelters are overrun.

“Essentially what happens is if you’re homeless, living in an encampment, and you’re evicted, you’re just going to end up moving somewhere else,” said Down. “Chances are, that might be somewhere that’s more remote, further away from services, further away from medical clinics, things you need to survive.”

In an affidavit, Nanos explained that he suffers from several disabilities, including anxiety, depression, and drug addiction, and hasn’t had consistent housing since he moved to Cambridge 18 years ago.

In a similar document, Micallef said he was a business owner, sold his business a decade ago, and has been homeless since his divorce eight years ago.

The case will return to court for further discussion in the coming weeks.

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