Victoria tent city ruling welcomed by poverty activists, neighbours
'Living here for the past 18 years was beautiful until this, and now we will get it back,' says neighbour
Victoria's long-standing tent city will be dismantled over the coming weeks, but advocates for the homeless are still declaring victory.
On Tuesday, a B.C. judge granted the provincial government an injunction to shut down the homeless camp, which has been set up on the provincial courthouse lawn since the fall.
The court ruling allows the province to evict people living in tents and shelters, but only once new social housing opens in the next few weeks.
Stephen Portman with the Together Against Poverty Society said the decision is a win for people who formed the camp to take a stand against living on the street.
"The chief justice's decision, in many respects, I think, reaffirms what the residents of this tent city have been calling for since a single tent was put on that lawn," he said.
The province has made hundreds of new housing and shelter spaces available since the tent city popped up in the fall.
Advocates hope it's a big step towards helping the roughly 1,400 people who are homeless in Victoria.
Even though the encampment will not disappear immediately — campers have until August 8 to dismantle their belongings — the court ruling comes as a relief for neighbours, who have long complained the camp is a magnet for drugs, crime and disruptive behaviour.
"Living here for the past 18 years was beautiful until this, and now we will get it back," said Don Allen, who lives across the street.