Sudbury

More than 30 people remain in tent encampments, says city of Greater Sudbury

The city of Greater Sudbury estimates there are around 30 people living in 10 or 11 small tent encampments spread across the city limits.

City says it has helped 157 people find housing

In October 2021 the city of Greater Sudbury said it counted 88 people lived in a tent encampment in Memorial Park. Now the city says around 30 people live in several small encampments scattered around Greater Sudbury. (Jonathan Migneault/CBC)

The city of Greater Sudbury estimates there are around 30 people living in 10 or 11 small tent encampments spread across the city limits.

In October 2021, the city counted 88 people living in a large tent encampment in Memorial Park, in the downtown core.

That population decreased over the winter months, and in April 2022 the city evicted the few people who still lived in the park.

"We're certainly nowhere near where we were last summer or even the summer before that from a total encampment situation," said Tyler Campbell, the city's director of children and social services.

Campbell said the city has always had small tent encampments, but they became more visible in downtown Sudbury at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In July 2021 the city started what it calls a "by-name list" to connect people experiencing homelessness with social and housing services.

Campbell said 368 people have added their name to the voluntary list, which is shared with several social service providers — including Sudbury's Homelessness Network, the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin, Monarch Recovery Services and the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre  — to help them better co-ordinate their outreach efforts.

The list has helped 157 people find housing, Campbell said. Fifty-six people have had their names removed from the list, and another 155 are waiting to find affordable or subsidized housing.

"The community has done a great job and the key to co-ordinated access is that everyone is working with the same individual to get them housed," Campbell said.

Evie Ali, executive director of the Go-Give Project, says she is aware of 11 people who had recently found affordable housing, but were evicted in August. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

But affordable housing hasn't been a permanent solution for everyone.

Evie Ali, the executive director of the Go-Give Project, which provides outreach and harm reduction services to the city's most vulnerable people, said she counted 11 evictions in August.

"This is something that we are expecting to see a lot more of," she said. "This number has been increasing gradually over the months."

Ali said many of the people who have found housing through the "by-name list" have difficulty living independently and need more support to learn how to live on their own. They are evicted because property owners see them as disruptive. 

"We're not providing supports, therapy, psychological services, psychiatric services to nearly as many people as we need to," Ali said. 

Campbell said the city knows some individuals need more help to stay housed, and has just hired two people for that exact job.

"They're just finishing their training now and the goal will really be to have those individuals connected to people that are placed on the by-name list to really assist with keeping those individuals housed," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Migneault

Digital reporter/editor

Jonathan Migneault is a CBC digital reporter/editor based in Sudbury. He is always looking for good stories about northeastern Ontario. Send story ideas to jonathan.migneault@cbc.ca.

now