Hamilton

Injunction blocking city from forcefully removing homeless at encampments extended

Advocates say an injunction barring the city from forcing homeless people living in encampments to move has been extended.

The motion will be heard in mid-September, according to lawyer Wade Poziomka

One of the encampments is made up of rows of tents on Ferguson Avenue North. (CBC)

Advocates say an injunction barring the city from forcing homeless people living in encampments to move has been extended.

"This morning the Superior Court extended the injunction preventing the involuntary removal of individuals from homeless encampments until the motion can be heard in early-September, 2020," tweeted Hamilton human rights lawyer Wade Poziomka Friday morning.

A group of doctors, lawyers and advocates secured the injunction on July 30.

Hamilton Harm Reduction Action League (Keeping Six), said it and other organizations were notified on July 28 that those living in the encampments outside the FirstOntario Centre and along Ferguson Avenue North had until the 31st to accept a shelter, hotel, housing or "be moved on."

When the organization was unable to get written assurance no one would be removed against their will, it, along with the Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team (Hamsmart), Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and Ross & McBride LLP, filed the injunction.

Paul Johnson, general manager of Hamilton's healthy and safe communities department, previously said the city had set a deadline for the encampments, but had no plans to physically remove anyone.

The city said staff would continue to reach out to those at encampments to make sure they're aware of their housing options "on a voluntary basis."

Johnson also said the city's legal team will be reviewing the order.

"We will have to address this because it essentially set aside a bylaw for the City of Hamilton," he said.

"We have to find a way where we can balance what we need to do to operate successfully as a city with how we support people who need our help."

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