Cambridge proposes new limits on overnight homeless shelters

​The city of Cambridge is drafting new guidelines for where homeless people can seek overnight shelter.

New bylaw would prohibit building temporary shelters in places like playgrounds and sports fields

City says it is working on creating better alternatives for its homeless population. (Pabak Sarkar, Flickr cc)

The City of Cambridge is drafting new guidelines for homeless people who may be seeking a place to sleep for the night. 

This week, Cambridge city council presented its first draft of a new bylaw around overnight shelter in the city.

"We're trying to set up rules as to where [people] may set up shelter and what behaviours are acceptable," Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig told CBC K-W.

Currently, the city is obligated by law to permit overnight shelter if there is no affordable housing available in the region.

Now, council is looking to prohibit that in certain places like community centres, city hall, playgrounds, outdoor pool areas and sports fields.

Despite the move, the city still says it considers the wellbeing of its homeless population to be a top priority.

"These are human beings that are out in the cold, so we're going to be trying our very best to find them appropriate shelter," Craig said.

The city has created its first draft of the bylaw, which must now be approved by council.